IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th August, 2023 Environment

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  • The increase in methane levels could potentially indicate that the Earth's climate is undergoing a phase of transition that could be termed a 'termination-level transition.'
  • Methane is a greenhouse gas with significantly greater potency than CO₂, yet its atmospheric lifespan is just under a decade.


  • The increasing levels of methane and its implications for Earth's climate transition are noteworthy aspects to consider..
  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, significantly more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide over shorter periods
  • Its sources include natural processes like wetlands, as well as human activities such as agriculture, livestock production, and fossil fuel extraction.
  • Starting from 2006, there has been a rapid increase in the concentration of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas, within Earth's atmosphere.
  • In contrast to the escalation of carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels, the recent surge in methane appears to be primarily due to biological emissions, rather than the combustion of fossil fuels.
  • As global temperatures rise due to climate change, various feedback loops could amplify methane emissions.
  • For instance, thawing permafrost in the Arctic could release significant amounts of methane that has been trapped in frozen soils. This could further contribute to the warming trend and create a self-reinforcing cycle.
  • Methane also plays a role in air quality and atmospheric chemistry, influencing the formation of ground-level ozone, a harmful air pollutant.

Sources of Methane

  • Biological sources of methane arise from the conversion of specific organic compounds through the activity of methane-producing microorganisms.
  • Agriculture stands as the primary origin of worldwide methane emissions.
  • Emissions stemming from fuel and industrial activities, particularly the unintentional release of methane from gas, coal, and oil sites, play a role in exacerbating the climate crisis.

Global Methane Pledge

  • The pledge was first announced in September by the US and EU, and is essentially an agreement to reduce global methane emissions.
  • The objective of this agreement is to reduce methane emissions by as much as 30 percent from the levels recorded in 2020, with the target year being 2030.

Way Forward:

  • Transitioning to a sustainable future requires tackling methane emissions.
  • This involves implementing stricter regulations on methane leaks during fossil fuel extraction and distribution, adopting sustainable agricultural practices, and exploring technologies to capture and utilize methane.


Addressing methane emissions is a crucial part of efforts to mitigate climate change and improve air quality .By addressing rising methane levels, we can better navigate Earth's ongoing climate transition and work towards a more balanced and resilient planet.


Q. Explain the need to reduce global methane emissions and advance use of methane as a clean energy source. (250 Words)