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Societal Benefits of Methane Mitigation

Eric Reading, Joe Donahue, David Cooley, Amy Rowland, James Schroll, Nikolaas Dietsch, Catherine Tobin, Jon Hecht, Ali White, Linh Nguyen, Rawad Abi Saab, Manuel Bueno, and Olga Faktorovich Allen

White Paper

November 10, 2022

Methane is a potent, short lived greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted through energy, agriculture, and waste activities and it’s responsible for nearly half of the current observed increase in global temperatures. Due to methane’s high global warming potential—around 80 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year period—and additional negative health and environmental impacts, investment in methane abatement will generate immediate climate and societal benefits. And, because of its outsize impact, cutting methane emissions is the fastest and most effective opportunity to slow the rate of global warming and buy time for additional long-term action to reduce CO2. 

Methane emissions sources are highly dispersed and historically difficult to track, requiring solutions that vary widely in terms of costs and ease of deployment. Fortunately, over half of these solutions are available now at low costs and ready to be scaled up for widespread adoption. However, despite their benefits, methane abatement solutions across the top methane-emitting sectors are severely underfunded. Due to the urgency of the climate crisis, targeted investments in methane solutions must be prioritized to keep global temperatures from breaching the critical 1.5°C threshold.

In this white paper, Abt illustrates the social benefits of prioritizing investments in methane abatement. Abt explored 16 out of over 40 methane abatement solutions in the energy, agriculture, and waste sectors. Collectively, these 16 technologies have the potential to reduce 20 percent of annual methane emissions by 2050, based on a 2017 baseline. We analyzed the social benefits of these solutions and compared the results to the social benefits of investing in renewable energy—specifically solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind.

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