Question: Enumerate the role of methane emissions in greenhouse effect and climate change. Suggest measures to control methane emissions.
Answer: Carbon dioxide and methane are some of the potent greenhouse gases that have profound effects on climate of the planet. The role of carbon dioxide is well known but methane has not been given enough focus.
Role of methane in climate change
- High intensity
The heating potential of methane is 20-30 times more than carbon dioxide. However its duration of stay in atmosphere is short in comparison to carbon dioxide.
- Natural sources
The largest emissions of methane occur through natural sources. This makes their control challenging, putting additional pressure on countries.
Sources of methane emissions
- Rice cultivation
Paddy cultivation is one of the biggest emitters of methane. India being one of the largest paddy cultivators, is contributing immensely to methane emissions.
It is the process of growing bovines for the purpose of meat and dairy. Methane gas is emitted from the dung of bovines.
- Industrial and domestic
Many industries emit methane gas during different processes. Fire wood burning also releases large amounts of methane gas.
Controlling methane emissions
- Cattle feed modifications
New cattle feed has been introduced that contains elements that reduces formation of methane gas in bovines. This can reduce methane emissions significantly.
- Modified crops
Paddy crop has been modified to ensure that methane emissions during cultivation are as low as possible. This keeps emissions under control.
Thus, methane emissions are equally important to be monitored if the world wants to keep warming below 1.5 degree in upcoming decades.