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We Can Solve This!

Achieving Peak Methane

An Opportunity We Can't Afford to Squander

Peak Methane is the point when total atmospheric methane reaches its historic peak and declines through oxidization until reaching its natural level prior to the industrial age.

Methane's Vulnerability

Methane molecules remain in the atmosphere for about 8.6 years. At that point, half of the methane is oxidized into CO2 and H2O. After another 8.6 years, a quarter remains, and so on. In 100 years, virtually all of it is gone. 

With a basic understanding of chemistry and fifth-grade math, we can calculate that once the total of anthropogenic and natural emissions and removals are less than the previous year's emissions, the total remaining in the atmosphere will be roughly 12% less. 

We refer to this point as 'Peak Methane'.

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The Path to Peak Methane (reduced emissions)

In 2021, anthropogenic emissions were about 380 million tons. 34% came from coal mines and oil and gas wells. Another 20% came from waste treatment, half from wastewater treatment, and half from landfills. 

Agriculture is responsible for 44%, including livestock (30%), crop burning (9%), and rice cultivation (7%). These emissions continue to increase as meat and rice production rises to feed a growing population in the global South, India, and Asia. 

 

Mine, oil and gas wells, and crop burning emissions are the easiest to reduce. Reducing meat and rice production is the most difficult from a practical and social equality perspective.

A concerted effort by municipalities and the energy sector combined with our efforts to reduce oil and gas well and mine emissions and crop burning has the potential to reduce up to 28% from mines and wells 15% from waste treatment and 6% from crop burning - a total of more than 186 MT - offsetting any increase in food reductions.

The Path to Peak Methane (removals)

​With a basic understanding of chemistry and fifth-grade math, we can calculate that once the total of anthropogenic and natural emissions and removals are less than the previous year's emissions, the total remaining in the atmosphere will be roughly 12% less. 

We refer to this point as 'Peak Methane'.

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