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Updated Nov 2, 2022

Thinktank claim UK methane emissions could be cut by 40% by 2030

Thinktank Green Alliance have claimed that the UK could cut methane emissions by more than 40% by 2030 if the government adopted appropriate measures.

The government has made pledges in the past to reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, however no specific proposals have yet been put forward to achieve these cuts.

Methane emissions are of concern because methane is a greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the global warming potential of CO2.

Green Alliance published a report listing a series of low-cost policy measures that could reduce 2020 methane emission levels by 43%.

One of the key measures they propose are to bring forward the UK's ban on landfilling biodegradable waste to 2025, and also requiring landfill operators to increase biogas capture. They claim that these changes to the waste industry alone could reduce methane emissions by 19% by 2030.

Addressing the issue of methane leaks which has been called for by the International Energy Agency (IEA) could not only increase gas supply to the UK and support energy security but would also lead to a further 9% in methane emission reductions.

Their report also called for measures to cut methane emissions across the agriculture sector which accounts for more than half of the UK's total methane emissions. They claim this can be done by:

  • feeding dairy cows a methane reducing supplement - Bovaer/3-NOP;
  • encouraging the consumption of alternative protein sources; and
  • improving the management of slurry.

Adopting such measures could reduce methane emissions by a further 15%.

Policy director at Green Alliance, Dustin Benton, commented: "Because methane emissions are accelerating the warming of the planet faster than carbon dioxide, it’s essential that both methane and carbon dioxide are cut rapidly. Our work is the first to show how the UK can exceed its global methane pledge by 2030, using low-cost policies that not only reduce methane emissions, but also create new industries in alternative proteins, and improve our energy security in the face of the gas crisis."