Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Flames are visible from a flaring pit near a well in the Bakken Oil Field. The primary component of natural gas is methane, which is odorless when it comes directly out of the gas well. (Photo: Orjan F. Ellingvag/Corbis via Getty Images)

Flames are visible from a flaring pit near a well in the Bakken Oil Field. The primary component of natural gas is methane, which is odorless when it comes directly out of the gas well. (Photo: Orjan F. Ellingvag/Corbis via Getty Images)

24 More Nations Join Global Methane Pledge Welcomed as 'Great Start' But Inadequate

"There's one move left to keep the planet from catastrophe, cutting methane as fast as we can from all sources."

Brett Wilkins

Experts on Monday cautiously welcomed announcements that another 24 nations have joined a U.S.- and European Union-led initiative to voluntarily slash methane emissions 30% from 2020 levels by the end of the decade, while climate campaigners underscored earlier assertions that much greater reductions are essential to combating the climate emergency.

"Cutting methane pollution is the fastest opportunity we have to help avert our most acute climate risks, including crop loss, wildfires, extreme weather, and rising sea levels."

The E.U. and eight countries—Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States—signed the Global Methane Pledge last month ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 26, which is set to begin in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31.

The two dozen new signatories to the pledge include Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sweden. All told, the parties to the agreement account for 60% of the world's gross domestic product and 30% of global methane emissions. However, major methane polluters including Australia, Brazil, China, India, and Russia have not signed the pledge.

Methane is the second-biggest contributor to human-caused global heating after carbon dioxide and has been found to be up to 87 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year period. Proponents of the Global Methane Pledge say it will help keep the rise in global temperatures below the Paris agreement's more ambitious target of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Monday called cutting methane emissions the "single-fastest strategy that we have to keep a safer 1.5°C future within reach."

While announcing the new initiative last month, President Joe Biden said it will "not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit, like improving public health and agricultural output."

However, while acknowledging that the pledge is a step in the right direction, experts argue that a 30% reduction in methane emissions by 2030 is not good enough.

Last week, the International Energy Agency published a report calling a 75% reduction in methane emissions by the end of the decade "essential" to combating the climate emergency.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, called the Global Methane Pledge a "great start," while encouraging more urgent action.

"There's one move left to keep the planet from catastrophe, cutting methane as fast as we can from all sources," he stressed.

Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, told The Washington Post that "momentum is building for a methane moment at Glasgow."

"Cutting methane pollution is the fastest opportunity we have to help avert our most acute climate risks, including crop loss, wildfires, extreme weather, and rising sea levels," he said.

As Common Dreams reported last month, experts say that scaling down animal agriculture is an essential component of limiting methane emissions. According to research recently published in Nature Food, 35% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to food production, "of which 57% corresponds to the production of animal-based food," including livestock feed.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·


US to Offer 'Condolence Payments' to Relatives of 10 Civilians Killed in Drone Strike

The Pentagon statement follows a call for President Joe Biden to "show real concern for civilians by taking more meaningful steps to prevent civilian casualties as a result of all U.S. lethal operations."

Andrea Germanos ·


New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

"This is what someone who's bought and paid for looks like."

Brett Wilkins ·


'We're Not Stopping': Weeklong D.C. Climate Protests End With 650+ Arrests, Vows to Fight On

"There is no other planet to escape to. Water is life... They need to listen to the youth. They need to hear us speak our cries."

Brett Wilkins ·


Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo