Methane Reduction Potential in the EU Between 2020 and 2030

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Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a twenty year cycle, and accounts for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Methane emissions reduction has a critical role to play in climate mitigation actions between now and 2040. The importance of methane emissions mitigation is put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Methane Pledge, the Global Methane Assessment by UNEP and CCAC, and the latest Global Methane Tracker Report from the IEA, all of which have come out over the last two years. The Global Methane Assessment notes that, according to scenarios analysed by the IPCC, “global methane emissions must be reduced by between 40–45% by 2030 to achieve least costpathways that limit global warming to 1.5˚C this century”, and that it is possible and cost-effective to realise this reduction. This target goes beyond the 30% methane reduction that is included in the Global Methane Pledge.

The European Commission has implemented policies that help to mitigate methane emissions in the EU’s waste sector, but there are still considerable methane emissions in this sector, as well as in the energy sector and in livestock agriculture. This raises the question whether current policy efforts in the EU are sufficient in order to realise 45% methane emissions reduction by 2030. Changing Markets Foundation has asked CE Delft to estimate the potential methane emissions reduction in Europe between 2020 and 2030 by means of a literature study and own calculations, which helps to answer this question. It is worth nothing that the 30 and 45% reduction targets are global but that, for the sake of this study, these targets are applied to the EU emissions. We investigate what additional policy efforts are needed to realise these targets in the EU.

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