Global warming is primarily a result of carbon dioxide pollution, and reducing emissions is not easy. In the short term, it is possible to play with another lever, methane.
Last year, human activity generated 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or CO2 in other words. This is the main factor that explains the rise in Earth’s temperature, therefore accelerating its warming so rapidly. COP27 currently taking place in Egypt aims to do more to reduce these emissions. CO2 has been in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
Limit methane emissions, limit global warming
Meanwhile, there is one way to slow the pace of global warming in the short term: limit methane emissions. In 2021, 640 million tons of this gas will be emitted through the use of fossil fuels, the decomposition of organic matter or … cow farts! It should be noted that while the amount of methane produced by human activity is infinitely less than CO2, this gas is 25 times more powerful at trapping heat.
However, methane only lasts for about ten years in the atmosphere: reducing this amount helps reduce the impact of climate change in the short term. As a result, warming slows down much faster, although this does not reduce the need to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
It is there to determine the world’s “hot spots” where high methane emissions are found. A mission assigned to NASA’s Earth Surface Inorganic Dust Source Survey (EMIT). The mission’s Imaging Spectrometer can pinpoint the emitting zones: 50 of them have been found in Central Asia, the southwestern United States and the Middle East. These are mostly industrial infrastructures or agricultural installations. Now it’s up to the states to do what’s necessary to reduce this methane production, which will certainly be more complicated.