Coal Sector is Second Biggest Methane Emitter

Methane emissions from the coal sector were the second-highest last year according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global Methane Tracker report, outpolluting the gas sector and trailing only oil. Oil was responsible for 49 million tonnes (Mt) of methane emissions last year, followed by coal with 40Mt, gas with 29Mt, and bioenergy with 10Mt. Despite the IEA’s analysis highlighting methane emissions from fossil fuels were set to decline, this set a near-record high for 2023. Methane was responsible for around 30% of the rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, according to the IEA. As such, Executive Director Fatih Birol warned that 75% cut in methane emissions from fossil fuels by 2030 was “imperative to stop the planet from warming to a dangerous level”. The analysis also found that the production and use of fossil fuels released nearly 120Mt of methane last year. The top-ten emitting countries – led by the US, Russia and China – were responsible for around 80Mt. “IEA’s analysis makes it clear that coal, one of the biggest methane culprits, is still being ignored,” said Sabina Assan, Methane Analyst at global energy think tank Ember. “There are cost-effective technologies available today, so this is a low-hanging fruit to tackle methane. We can’t let coal mines off the hook any longer.”

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