With the second day of the COP26 summit complete, world leaders continued to make further critical environmental commitments. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Joe Biden, President of the United States, announced today their commitment to reduce methane emissions by 30% in comparison to the previous year. The initiative was first proposed in September of this year, and as of now, 80 countries have pledged to support it, including some that emit nearly half of all methane and account for 70% of global GDP.
This is significant because methane is one of the most threatening greenhouse gases on the planet and the third most significant contributor to human-caused global warming.
Although the main focus of this COP26 summit and general global warming initiatives will be on reducing CO2 emissions, which is the primary cause of global warming, methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas, with a single methane molecule warming the atmosphere much more rigorously than a single CO2 molecule. As a result, it will be critical to address methane emissions, as a reduction in emissions will have significant environmental benefits.
In addition, the UK Prime Minister, along with leaders from the United States, India, the European Union, and – most critically – China, announced plans to accelerate the implementation of clean technologies, with more than 40 leaders taking the pledge. The goal of this initiative is to create a global market for low-carbon, or zero-carbon, technologies that will benefit the planet and environment while also generating trillions of dollars in private finance to reduce emissions in the long run. The initiative will target the five highest carbon-emitting sectors which are the steel, road transport, agriculture, hydrogen and electricity industries.