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.

"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 July 22, 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 July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: High Winds Push Growing Washington Widlfire

Raw: High Winds Push Growing Washington Widlfire

AP (July 19, 2014) Pushed by howling, erratic winds, a massive wildfire in north-central Washington was growing rapidly and burning in new directions Saturday. (July 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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