Atmospheric methane saw record surge in 2021, US NOAA says


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday that atmospheric methane continued rising in 2021, setting another new record for the second year in a row.

According to NOAA, the annual increase in atmospheric methane in 2021 was 17 parts per billion (ppb), the most since systematic monitoring began in 1983. Methane levels in the atmosphere averaged 1,895.7 parts per billion in 2021, a 162% increase over pre-industrial levels.

“Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad in a statement. He also warned that the need for immediate and decisive action to address the problem’s root cause could not be ignored anymore.

Methane is produced in the atmosphere by a variety of sources, including fossil fuel production, transportation, and consumption, the breakdown of organic waste in wetlands, and as a result of ruminant animal digestion, such as cows.

Methane is significantly less plentiful than carbon dioxide, yet it is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Since atmospheric residence period of methane is roughly nine years, compared to thousands of years for carbon dioxide, managing methane is crucial for influencing the rate of climate change in the near future.

Experts estimate that fossil fuel production and usage accounts for around 30% of global methane emissions. With today's technologies, pinpointing and controlling these industrial methane sources is relatively simple, making it a clear target for mitigating the short-term effects of the climate problem. Governments have thus speed up transition to renewable energy to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

In November, over 100 countries who participated in COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow have signed the Global Methane Pledge, committing to cutting methane emissions by 30% by 2030. However, major emitters such as China, Russia, Iran, and India have declined to sign on.

IPCC cites cryptocurrency as factor of ‘future climate risks’
Global carbon emissions rebounded to record high in 2021 amid economic recovery

More from Renewable Energy Certificate

Download request

Please fill out the form to download samples.

Job title
Company email
By using this site, you agree with our use of cookies.