Got methane? To answer that question, you need to know what it is, where it comes from, and why you should care.
Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that is 28-30 % more potent than CO2. That makes it a climate crisis accelerator and a big concern. According to the UN’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition, “Reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute significantly to global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. “ To see how quickly methane is rising, check out these graphs.
So where does methane come from? In the US, the largest amount of methane comes from oil and “natural” gas production/distribution/use, landfills, and livestock. Other sources are coal mining, wastewater treatment plants, incinerators, wildfires, and industrial processes used in manufacturing.
In Pennsylvania, methane comes from shale gas fracking, oil wells, coal mines, waste incinerators (there are nine in PA), and cows. Methane leaks in PA are much higher than reported by the state. Perhaps we should take that up with our state legislators?
Methane is also harmful to our health. It contributes to the formation of ground level ozone and particulate pollution. Exposure to ozone and particulate pollution damages airways, aggravates lung diseases, causes asthma attacks, increases rates of preterm birth, exacerbates heart disease, and increases risk of stroke.
What you can do
- Compost your food scraps!
- Ditch your old gas stove for a convection stove
- Replace gas water heaters and furnaces
- Work towards zero waste
- Reduce consumption, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle, Refuse, Redistribute (share)
- Donate to the Media Free Store instead of the landfill
- Drive less or make your next car an electric one.
- Eat less meat.
- Wear an N95 or KN95 mask outdoors when air quality is poor.
- Write to your legislators
- Share this information with family, friends and neighbors.
We all need to do our part to make our planet livable. What you do matters!