A rapid, full-scale effort to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, large-scale agriculture and other human sources could slow the worldwide rate of warming by as much as 30%, a newly published paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters showed on April 27.

The results highlight the critical role of methane in any climate strategy, even as we decarbonize our energy systems. By reducing emissions of methane — which has more than 80 times the warming power of CO2 for the first 20 years it’s in the atmosphere — we can hit the brakes on the increasingly rapid warming responsible for stronger storms, hotter fire seasons and rapidly melting Arctic sea ice, the Environmental Defense Fund said in a press release.


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