Whenever we talk about pollution, climate change and all that stuff - we generally talk about carbon dioxide increasing in our atmosphere, sea levels rising , temperatures soaring and similar things. But there's more to it. There is something on this planet that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. There is something that will wreak havoc if it continues to increase in the atmosphere.
This is a gas that causes 80 times more global heating as compared to Carbon Dioxide within a 20-year timeframe. Although this gas stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time than Carbon Dioxide, its heating has a major impact on the environment. Carbon Dioxide generally stays in the atmosphere for more than 100 - 200 years. But this gas stays in the atmosphere for nearly 8 -12 years. And even in its shorter lifespan, it manages to soar the mercury quite high.
So, What is it?
Methane - A gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. The gas traps much more heat than carbon dioxide. The Global Warming Potential of methane is 84-87 times than that of carbon dioxide within a 20-year timeframe.
Methane is responsible for around 30% of the rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution, and rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions are key to limiting near-term warming and improving air quality.
Methane makes up just 0.00018 percent of the atmosphere, compared to 0.039 percent for carbon dioxide. (CO2 is roughly 200 times more abundant.)
Over several years, levels of atmospheric methane have increased. In 2013, scientists found that methane levels had risen by about 150 ppb since pre-industrial times, and some estimates put it as high as 200 ppb. At 250 ppb, global warming would accelerate significantly.
The world's supply of methane, one of the most potent heat-trapping gases, may be far larger than previously estimated, according to new research. Global Warming Potential: The ability of any greenhouse gas to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere compared with that trapped by carbon dioxide; expressed as global warming potential (GWP). Carbon dioxide is assigned a GWP value of 1.0 and each type of hydrocarbon has its own GWP based on how long it stays in Earth’s atmosphere.
Where is it found?
Although there are various sources of methane, the major problems are two things. The first one is Landfills. The waste that we generate in our houses ends up in dump yards most of the time. And the decaying of this waste releases methane in huge quantities. The second problem is animals. The animals also release large amounts of methane in the form of cow dung and farts (quite literally). Eating of nonvegetarian food like meat and other things also makes humans release more methane.
Here's how you can help :
Carbon dioxide has received most of our attention, but methane deserves its share as well. Since the Industrial Revolution, the temperatures on our planet have kept on rising consistently. In fact, the six warmest years since the year 1850 have all been after 2015. Methane is one of our strongest levers to reduce the global rise in temperatures. The waste that we generate from our houses ends up in landfills. These landfills in turn decompose and emit methane. This is one of the major causes of rising methane emissions. It is high time now. We cannot wait anymore. Climate change is a big problem of our times. The technologies to reduce methane emissions already exist. We all can do this.
Now is the time to,
Do it earthily.