Report suggests how methane should be treated in climate change policy

Rural Exchange 01/09/2018

Methane should indeed be considered in the Government’s climate change policy, suggests a new report on the greenhouse gas.

The report suggests that to prevent global warming, methane emissions will need to be reduced by 10-22 percent below 2016 levels by 2050, with further cuts by the end of the century.

But the report’s author, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton, maintains that his findings do not set target reductions.

“Setting a target is a political issue, and I won’t be recommending one,” Mr Upton told RadioLIVE.

Agriculture industry leaders have welcomed the report’s findings, with Federated Farmers praising the report for shooting down claims that livestock emissions must be cut to zero.

“Methane can’t be counted out of the picture. It will go on contributing if we just hold emissions flat. By pulling those emissions down, we will get some improvement and progress,” Mr Upton said.

Farmers argue that methane to be seen as a short-lived gas with a softer target reduction than carbon dioxide.

Mr Upton emphasises that methane certainly needs to be addressed, but agrees that it should be treated differently to other greenhouse gases.

“Whilst methane is important and we do need to be targeting reductions, carbon dioxide remains the big game in town.”

The Commissioner is expected to release another report on carbon sinks by the end of the year, which will further inform the extent that greenhouse gases are absorbed in soil.

Watch the full interview with Simon Upton above.

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