World Methane Emissions Hit New High
by Alex Fox/Smithsoniamag.com
Global emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane hit an all-time high in 2017, according to a pair of new studies released this week by researchers with the Global Carbon Project. Agriculture, landfill waste and fossil fuel production are driving the sharp increase in methane emissions from human activities, reports Maria Temming of Science News.
Though worldwide data is only available through 2017, the researchers behind the studies say the planet’s soaring methane emissions have “almost certainly” continued to rise despite this year’s temporary coronavirus-related reductions in global emissions, reports Hiroko Tabuchi of the New York Times.
“The atmosphere does not suggest that anything has slowed down for methane emissions in the last two years,” Rob Jackson, an environmental scientist at Stanford University and co-author of both studies, tells Science News. “If anything, it’s possibly speeding up.”
Per Science News, the concentration of methane in Earth’s atmosphere increased from 1,857 parts per billion in 2017 to 1,875 parts per billion in 2019, according to NOAA.
The research’s findings, published July 14 in the journals Earth System Science Data and Environmental Research Letters, place Earth on a path for the most catastrophic warming scenario outlined by climate models, reports Denise Chow for NBC News.