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COP26: Australia snubs methane reduction pledge at climate change conference in Glasgow

Nearly 90 countries have signed a critical climate change commitment at the COP26 conference. However, Australia was not one of them.

Nearly 90 countries have joined a US- and EU-led effort to slash methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 from 2020 levels at the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

Methane is more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide but 80 times more potent in warming the earth. Cutting gas emissions, which is estimated to have accounted for 30 percent of global warming since pre-industrial times, is one of the most effective ways of slowing climate change.

According to the US official, the Global Methane Pledge, first announced in September, now covers emissions from two-thirds of the global economy.

Among the signatories is Brazil – one of the five biggest emitters of methane, which is generated in cows’ digestive systems, landfill waste, and oil and gas production.

The other four – Australia, China, Russia, and India – have not signed up. Australia had been under pressure to sign up. Still, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the only way Australia could achieve that target would be to reduce numbers of cattle and sheep.

“At present, almost half of Australia’s annual methane emissions come from the agriculture sector, where no affordable, practical and large-scale way exists to reduce it other than by culling herd sizes,” Mr. Taylor wrote.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said his Nationals had insisted Mr. Morrison not commit to reducing methane at the Glasgow summit.

Inaction on methane was one of the conditions the rural-based Nationals had placed to support Morrison’s Liberal Party’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

“The only way you can get your 30 percent by 2030 reduction in methane on 2020 levels would be to go and grab a rifle, go out and start shooting your cattle because it’s just not possible,” Mr. Joyce said.

US President Joe Biden said the pledge was a crucial part of reducing carbon emissions.

“One of the most important things we can do between now and 2030, to keep 1.5C in reach, reduces our methane emissions as soon as possible,” said Mr. Biden, referring to the central goal of the 2015 Paris agreement.

He called the pledge, which has so far been signed by more than 80 nations, a “game-changing commitment” that covered countries responsible for around half of the global methane emissions.

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said that the methane cut would “immediately slow down climate change”.

“We cannot wait until 2050. We have to cut emissions fast, and methane is one of the gases we can cut the fastest,” she said.

Heads of state and government are gathered in Glasgow for a two-day high-level summit that host Britain is hoping will kick start ambitious climate action during the two-week COP26.

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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