Methane & Carbon Dioxide: A Closer Look at the Numbers
VOICE: Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a measure of how much a greenhouse gas contributes to global warming. - The GWP of carbon dioxide is defined as 1.- The warming potentials of all other gases are ranked in comparison to CO2.
- The GWP of methane, for example, is 72 when averaged over 20 years. Professor Pete Smith – University of Aberdeen, UK (M):
- In other words, methane heats the atmosphere 72 times more than CO2 over the course of 20 years.
The reason that it’s a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is because the structure of the molecule traps more of the infrared radiation, more of the heat.
VOICE: Where does methane come from? Dr. Kirk Smith - Professor of Global Environmental Health; University of California Berkeley, USA (M):
Human methane emissions are from meat; from livestock.
VOICE: - One cow produces 200 pounds of methane each year, an equivalent of 14,400 pounds of CO2.
- Due to intensive livestock raising, there are today more than 1.53 billion cows in the world, each emitting 200 pounds of methane, leading to an astounding 21.6 trillion pounds of CO2 equivalent emitted annually.
This is more than: - 3 times the world’s cars - All the power plants in the world - All the emissions of industrialized nations of Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States… combined.Bill Clinton – 42nd US President; vegan (M):
Climate change scientists have concluded that while looking at all their data about the destruction of the planet, we still need to try to reduce aggregate greenhouse gases 80% by 2050.
We all know it’s going to be hard to do with the population growing and with the technology still emerging. However, if you went after the two most potent, quickly dispersing forms of greenhouse gases, methane and it’s variants, and black carbon, then you might buy the entire world another 20 years to deal with the larger issue.
VOICE: Greenhouse gases take varying times to dissipate, and thereby to stop warming the atmosphere.
- Methane takes only 8-12 years to stop warming the atmosphere; whereas - Carbon dioxide takes up to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of years Bill Clinton – 42nd US President; vegan (M):
This is very important that everybody understand: It’s so much cheaper to go after methane than to change the whole structure by which carbon dioxide goes in the atmosphere. Maneka Gandhi – Chair, Climate Change Committee, Indian Parliament; vegan (F):
What needs to be done is not to concentrate on carbon dioxide. Do the things that can be done, which means that you go to the next and most important gas, which is methane. You can say, "All right, we will not eat meat. We will not grow meat for others to eat."
VOICE: Stop methane. Stop global warming. Fast.Maneka Gandhi – Chair, Climate Change Committee, Indian Parliament; vegan (F): I
am saying not only is it a real solution, but it’s an immediate solution. Be Veg,Go Green 2 Save the Planet.