Should Carbon Offsets Be Used to Finance Methane Mitigation or Removal?

Since the purpose of carbon offsets is not to reduce total emissions but to shift the location of abatement to more cost-effective sources, Methane Action does not support carbon offsets as part of any nationally determined contribution toward greenhouse gas emissions reductions, including methane reduction and removal.

We do support efforts to reach global net-negative emissions, particularly net-negative methane emissions, as soon as possible. And we concur with the assessment of the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition that global methane emissions must be cut by at least 45% by 2030 to avoid overshooting the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming to 1.5o C.

In line with these goals, Methane Action supports strengthening legal standards for methane emissions controls, reductions, and removals that will rapidly reach well beyond net-zero methane emissions, both for domestic production and for imports.

Carbon dioxide and methane are not equivalent in their warming effects. CO2 has a long-term impact on global temperatures, and methane has a pronounced effect on global peak and average temperatures in the nearer term. Since both methane’s and carbon dioxide’s global warming potential and lifetime in the atmosphere are not comparable, they should not be treated as fungible under emissions trading programs or other climate policies aimed at reducing them.

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