Cutting down carbon dioxide is not enough to solve the climate crisis. Scientists think that methane, another powerful greenhouse gas, can escalate global warming and lead to a climate catastrophe.
Methane is a carbon-rich gas produced from animal farming, shale gas wells, and conventional oil/gas extraction. Experts say that methane has 80 times more warming potential than CO2.
The landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says human actions are altering the planet and are leading to irreversible change. One of the key action points for policymakers in the report is how methane plays a greater role than carbon in overheating the planet.
The IPCC wants policymakers to consider their findings before the UN climate talks, Cop26 in November. One of the top goals of Cop26 is phasing out coal, and cutting methane could balance the impact of the same.
Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said that methane reduction is the only way to prevent the planet's temperature from rising 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. "Cutting methane is the biggest opportunity to slow warming between now and 2040. We need to face this emergency," said Zaelke.
He also pointed out that fossilisation will not help the planet to cool until 2050. Coal has sulphur particles that shield the Earth from heat by deflecting some of the sunlight. Though cutting coal can immediately increase global warming, it is beneficial in the long run.
The IPCC president explained that cutting down methane will give humankind some time to tackle climate change because cutting carbon dioxide will not cool the planet in the next ten years. In that period, the chances of doing something about climate change will be "severely compromised". He added that climate change is like a marathon, and we need to stay in the race, reported The Guardian.