Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global Warming: Reducing Methane Emissions Could Lower Overall Abatement Costs

Date:
November 4, 1999
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Achieving a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions that is large enough to mitigate the effects of global warming can be a daunting task. As reported in the Oct. 29 issue of Science, a team of atmospheric scientists, economists and emissions experts has found that by including methane in abatement strategies, the costs of meeting U.S. emission-reduction targets could be lowered.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Achieving a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions that is large enough to mitigate the effects of global warming can be a daunting task. As reported in the Oct. 29 issue of Science, a team of atmospheric scientists, economists and emissions experts has found that by including methane in abatement strategies, the costs of meeting U.S. emission-reduction targets could be lowered.

Related Articles


"In our study, we assessed the potential cost savings of introducing an additional greenhouse gas, methane, into a carbon dioxide emission-reduction strategy," said Katharine Hayhoe, a researcher in atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois and the lead author of the Science paper. "We estimate that for short-term targets, methane can offset carbon dioxide reductions and reduce U.S. abatement costs by more than 25 percent compared to strategies involving carbon dioxide alone."

The recent Kyoto Protocol calls for a 7 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by the budget period 2008-2012, Hayhoe said. As yet, the United States has not agreed to the terms of the protocol. However, using the latest carbon dioxide and methane abatement costs for the United States, the researchers showed that a joint control strategy could meet the protocol's target and timetable at a lower overall cost when compared with previous estimates that account for carbon dioxide only.

There are five major sources of man-made methane in the United States -- landfills, coal mining, livestock, manure systems and the production and transmission of natural gas. A significant amount of these emissions can be reduced through the use of currently available, economically justified and easily verified options. Such options include capturing the methane and recovering the cost of the emission-reduction technology by selling the gas or using it to displace other energy inputs.

"Most of these methane abatement technologies can be quickly implemented," said Atul Jain, a U. of I. atmospheric scientist. "Methane emission reductions are most effective for smaller reduction targets, where mitigation technologies with low or zero net costs account for much of the abatement."

Because of its short atmospheric response time of about 12 years, methane concentrations will respond quickly to emission reductions, producing an immediate and significant impact on climate change, Jain said. In contrast, the effect of reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, which are slowly removed from the atmosphere over 50-200 years, will not be seen for some time.

"Methane is the second-most important greenhouse gas. Together, methane and other non-carbon dioxide gases are currently responsible for about 40 percent of the global warming problem," said Don Wuebbles, a U. of I. professor of atmospheric sciences. "However, reducing carbon dioxide emissions is still the primary means of achieving significant long-term mitigation of climate change."

Collaborators on the study included Hugh Pitcher and Chris MacCracken of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Reid Harvey and Dina Kruger of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Michael Gibbs of the ICF Kaiser Consulting Group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Global Warming: Reducing Methane Emissions Could Lower Overall Abatement Costs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991104070820.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1999, November 4). Global Warming: Reducing Methane Emissions Could Lower Overall Abatement Costs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991104070820.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Global Warming: Reducing Methane Emissions Could Lower Overall Abatement Costs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991104070820.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A grand jury indicted four former executives of Freedom Industries, the company at the center of the Jan. 9, 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of 300,000 people. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uphill Battle to Tackle Indonesian Shark Fishing

Uphill Battle to Tackle Indonesian Shark Fishing

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Sharks are hauled ashore every day at a busy market on the central Indonesian island of Lombok, the hub of a booming trade that provides a livelihood for local fishermen but is increasingly alarming environmentalists. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

France's Sauternes Wine Threatened by New Train Line

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) Winemakers in southwestern France's Bordeaux are concerned about a proposed high speed train line that could affect the microclimate required for the region's sweet wine. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins