Letter in Support of Declaration on Reducing Atmospheric Methane

We, the undersigned support the Declaration on Reducing Atmospheric Methane, which would commit signatories — national and subnational governments, and international bodies — to take key steps to reduce methane emissions and remove atmospheric methane, in order to lower atmospheric methane concentrations to preindustrial levels.

Current methane levels are at 800,000-year highs and rising rapidly. Atmospheric methane concentrations jumped more last year than in any year of the past 35. According to the latest IPPC report1, methane has caused one third of global warming (as observed on average for 2010 to 2019, relative to average temperatures in the late 1800s), and has contributed at least half as much warming as carbon dioxide.

Methane emissions from anthropogenic sources are rising quickly, and continued warming is also likely to intensify biogenic emissions from wetlands. While it’s critical to cut methane emissions as deeply as possible, including in the fossil fuel sector, the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions globally is the agricultural sector, whose emissions are impossible to eliminate completely.

At the same time, about 40% of methane emissions are from natural sources such as wetlands. We must aggressively mitigate methane emissions wherever we can, while conserving and restoring the ecological functions of wetlands and other ecosystems. But we must also address natural and anthropogenic methane emissions that we can’t effectively reduce or eliminate.

In April 2021 leading climate scientists, atmospheric scientists and other experts issued a statement urging national and global leaders to take effective measures to achieve a rapid reduction in atmospheric methane levels. In addition to reducing methane emissions, they called for more research on scalable ways of removing methane from the atmosphere. Some emerging methods for removing methane from the atmosphere were discussed in the most recent IPCC report, which also cited current research about them2.

The April statement called upon all countries to commit to cutting methane emissions aggressively, to fund research on methane mitigation and removal, and to frame and implement global governance to ensure full and proper implementation of such methods in order to return to atmospheric methane concentrations to preindustrial levels.

Now it’s time for leaders to act, and take concrete steps toward these goals. The Declaration on Reducing Atmospheric Methane lays out such steps that can be taken now, and a framework for researching a range of potential methane solutions and implementing those that prove safe and effective, including but not limited to the ones the Declaration mentions by name. We urge national governments and other jurisdictions to adopt it.

Furthermore, given that rising methane concentrations contribute significantly to global warming, ecosystem damage and biodiversity loss, we urge parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and other relevant treaties and agreements to take swift, effective action on methane emissions reduction and atmospheric methane removal, incorporating as appropriate the goals and framework of the Declaration on Reducing Atmospheric Methane.

Signed,

Austria

Dr. Lena Höglund-Isaksson

Senior Research Scholar, Pollution Management Research Group

Energy, Environment and Climate

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Editor, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Vienna

Canada

J. David Hughes

President, Global Sustainability Research Inc.

France

Philippe Bousquet

Director, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement

Université de Versailles – Saint Quentin en Yvelines

Gif sur Yvette

Philippe Ciais

IPSL – LSCE

Centre d’Etudes L’Orme des Merisiers

Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC WG1, AR5, Chapter 6

Member, French Academy of Science

Gif sur Yvette, France

Renaud de Richter, PhD.

Engineering School of Chemistry

Montpellier

Germany

Dr Franz Deitrich Oeste

gM-Ingenieurbüro

Kirchhain

Ireland

Dr Bo Xiao

Lecturer in Chemical Engineering

Advisor of Studies in Chemical Engineering

School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Queen’s University Belfast

Belfast

Netherlands

Dr. Maarten van Herpen

Founder/director, Acacia Impact Innovation

Senior Scientist, Methane Action

Eindhoven, North Brabant


Norway

Ms. Kathryn Baker, MBA

Dartmouth Tuck School of Business

Former Member of the Board of DIrectors, Central Bank of Norway

U.K.

Leon Di Marco

FSK Technology Research

London

Dr. Peter Wadhams

University of Cambridge

Cambridge

Dr Qingchun Yuan

Lecturer in Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry

Aston University

Birmingham

USA

Dr. Viney P. Aneja

Professor of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences 

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr. Ron Baiman

Associate Professor of Economics

Dept. of Business and Analytics

Benedictine University, Lisle, IL

Dr. Phoebe Barnard

Stable Planet Alliance

Professor, University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

Ms. Dinah Bear

Former General Counsel, Deputy General Counsel, President’s Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President, under Democratic and Republican Presidents

Tucson, AZ

Dr. Wil Burns


Visiting Professor, Environmental Policy & Culture Program

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

F. Stuart Chapin, III

Professor Emeritus of Ecology

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks AK 

Tara Illgner

University of Virginia

Graduate Student, Atmospheric Chemistry

COVES Fellow

Charlottesville, Virginia

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea

Professor of Engineering Emeritus

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Robert B. Jackson

Professor, Earth Systems Science

Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Deborah Lawrence

Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences

Director of the Program in Environmental Thought and Practice

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Michael E. Mann

Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science

Director, Earth System Science Center 

The Pennsylvania State University 

University Park, PA   

Dr. Albert Manville

Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Advanced Academic Programs, Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Michael MacCracken

Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs

Climate Institute

Washington, DC

J. Patrick Megonigal

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Edgewater, MD 21037

Dr. Duncan Menge

Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, and Director of Graduate Studies

Columbia University

New York, NY

Dr. William R Moomaw

Visiting Scientist, Woodwell Climate Research Center

Emeritus Professor of International Environmental Policy, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy

Co-Director Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University

Boston, MA

Dr. John Perona

Professor of Environmental Biochemistry at Portland State University, Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at OHSU, and faculty fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at PSU

Stuart Pimm

Doris Duke Chair of Conservation

Duke University

Raleigh, North Carolina

William H. Schlesinger

James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry

Dean (Emeritus) the School of the Environment

Duke University

President (Emeritus), the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Durham, North Carolina

James Gustave Speth

Former Administrator, United Nations Development Program, Former Chair of the UN Development Group, founder and former president of the World Resources Institute; former chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council.

Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School, senior fellow at Demos, the Democracy Collaborative, and the Tellus Institute. Former Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental

Burlington, VT

Dr. Shaojie Song

Research Associate in Environmental Science and Engineering

Lecturer on Environmental Science and Public Policy

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Allan Thornton

President, Environmental Investigations Agency

Washington, DC

Joe Uehlein

President, Labor Network for Sustainability

Takoma Park, MD

Dr. Donn Viviani

Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scientist, former Director of Climate Policy Assessment Division

Former Chair, Great Lakes Water Board’s Toxic Substances Committee

Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative

Arlington, VA

Qianlai Zhuang

Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Professor of Agronomy

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN


1 IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.

2 Ibid. Proposals to remove CH4 from the atmosphere are emerging (de Richter et al., 2017; Jackson et al., 2019). CH4 removal methods seek to capture CH4 directly from ambient air similarly to DACCS for CO2 using for example zeolite trapping, but instead of storing it CH4 would be chemically oxidized to CO2 (Jackson et al., 44 2019).

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