Climate action: Should methane be measured the same as carbon dioxide?

The Extinction Chronicles

Climate action: Should methane be measured the same as carbon dioxide?

A different metric should be used to measure methane emissions for climate change policy, according to a recent paper published by the Oxford Martin School, in the University of Oxford.

The paper, published last year, highlights that the current ‘one size fits all’ climate change policy does not take into account that there are two types of emissions that contribute to climate change – long-lived and short-lived pollutants.

Explaining the difference, Dr. Michelle Cain from the Oxford Martin Programme on Climate Pollutants, said: “Long-lived pollutants, like carbon dioxide, persist in the atmosphere, building up over centuries.

The CO2 created by burning coal in the 18th century is still affecting the climate today. Short-lived pollutants, like methane, disappear within a few years.

“Their effect on the climate is important – but very different from that of CO2: Yet current policies treat them all as ‘equivalent’.”

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