Tuesday Sep 27, 2022
Tuesday Sep 27, 2022

China, India, Russia, world’s biggest methane polluters


Nepalnews
AP
2022 Aug 11, 14:10, BENGALURU
A person picks through trash for reusable items as a fire rages at the Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi. (AP Photo)

Scientists used satellite data from four major cities worldwide — Delhi and Mumbai in India, Lahore in Pakistan and Buenos Aires in Argentina — and found that emissions from landfills in 2018 and 2019 were 1.4 to 2.6 times higher than earlier estimates.

The study, published in Science Advances on Wednesday, is aimed at helping local governments carry out targeted efforts to limit global warming by pinpointing specific sites of major concern.

When organic waste like food, wood or paper decomposes, it emits methane into the air. Landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions globally, after oil and gas systems and agriculture.

Although methane only accounts for about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions and lasts about a dozen years in the air, it traps 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide does. Scientists estimate that at least 25% of today’s warming is driven by methane from human actions.

“This is the first time that high-resolution satellite images have been used to observe landfills and calculate their methane emissions,” said Joannes Maasakkers, lead author of the study and atmospheric scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

Satellite data to detect emissions is still a relatively new field, but it’s being used more and more to observe gases across the world. It means more independent organizations are tracking greenhouse gases and identifying big emitters, whereas previously local government figures were the only source available.

Earlier this year, smoke hung over New Delhi for days after a massive landfill caught fire as the country was sweltering in an extreme heat wave with temperatures surpassing 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). At least two other landfill fires have been reported in India this year.

At last year’s United Nations climate conference, 104 countries signed a pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared with 2020 levels. Both India and China are not signatories.

The authors plan to carry out more research into landfill sites across the world in future studies.

READ ALSO:

methane polluters landfills Satellite data Greenhouse Gas Emissions Space Research climate conference
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