Contact: Stephen Kent, email@example.com, 914-589-5988
[Calabasas, CA – April 16, 2021] In a sign-on letter issued a week before the Earth Day climate summit, prominent climate scientists today called on U.S. and global leaders “to take effective measures to cut methane emissions, reduce atmospheric methane concentrations, and return methane in the atmosphere to preindustrial levels.” Methane is a potent warming agent, 84 times more powerful than CO2 over 20 years. Methane levels in the atmosphere are 2.5 times above preindustrial levels, and rising fast.
The letter was released today by the NGO Methane Action, signed by over 30 atmospheric chemists, climate scientists, and scientists in related fields from the U.S., U.K., Europe and Japan, including Michael Mann, Sir David King, and many other noted experts. They expressed their concern about the climate impacts of rapidly rising methane levels, and called for both aggressively mitigating methane emissions at their sources and developing ways to cut methane in the atmosphere.
“To deal with methane emissions that can’t otherwise be mitigated, to reduce the overall methane burden, and to get atmospheric methane levels to a range consistent with meeting climate goals, we must combine prevention and mitigation of new methane emissions with actively lowering the concentration of methane already in the atmosphere,” the letter states.
“Research is currently underway on scalable methods that can accelerate and enhance atmospheric methane oxidation (a naturally occurring process which continuously removes methane from the atmosphere), such that it could become sufficient to lower atmospheric methane concentrations even as natural methane emissions and some anthropogenic emissions continue to rise,” the scientists argue. “When combined with aggressive mitigation of methane emissions, these technologies have the potential to reduce atmospheric methane concentrations rapidly and substantially. The stakes of realizing this potential are high, and the opportunity is great. For example, cutting atmospheric methane concentrations in half would return radiative forcing from greenhouse gases to 2005 levels, complementing other forms of climate action and helping significantly to put ambitious climate goals within reach.”
To that end, the scientists’ letter calls on U.S. and global leaders to: “1).ensure that all countries are committed to aggressively reducing or mitigating methane emissions at their sources; 2) fund and initiate programs to monitor atmospheric methane and to research and develop technologies that reduce atmospheric methane safely and effectively; and 3) frame and implement a global agreement to return atmospheric methane concentrations to preindustrial levels.”
The full letter and list of signatories is posted here.
NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Climate scientists and climate advocates who helped frame the letter are available for interviews. For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Stephen Kent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914-589-5988
Photo credit: Joshua Dean, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons