Oct 11, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Over 20 more countries vow to slash methane emissions

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry during an interview in New York City in September 2021.

John Kerry during an interview in New York City in September. Photo: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry announced Monday that 24 additional countries agreed to a voluntary pledge to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by one-third by 2030.

Why it matters: The Global Methane Pledge, which the Biden administration announced with the European Union last month, now includes nine of the world's top 20 methane emitting countries, representing around 30% of total emissions and 60% of the global economy.

New pledgers include Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Sweden and Pakistan.

  • Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom agreed to the pact when it was first announced.

Yes, but: These are voluntary pledges for a yearslong plan. The key thing to watch is what tangible steps follow the nonbinding agreements from nations and corporations.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Along with carbon dioxide, which is a long-lasting planet-warming gas, methane is a potent warming agent that acts in the near term, over the time span of one to two decades.

  • In recent years, methane emissions have been increasing quickly, and reducing them could have a near-immediate effect on the climate, studies show.
  • The new methane pledge is part of a Biden administration-led effort to pursue an all-encompassing strategy to slash emissions of planet-warming gases, from ozone-depleting substances to carbon dioxide.

The big picture: More than 20 leading philanthropic organizations also announced Monday that they will commit over $223 million to support implementation of the pledge.

  • The new commitments come just weeks before the UN is set to hold a climate summit in Glasgow on Oct. 31.

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