Malik Amin has said that strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions and slashing CO2 emissions could have a far-reaching impact on the climate. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan yesterday joined a global pledge to cut emissions of methane gas to slow warming of the planet.

“We have conveyed our consent to the EU and US governments that Pakistan is joining the methane ledge to support global efforts to fight climate change” Amin Aslam, Pakistan PM’s special advisor on climate change said on Monday.

Pakistan is now among the 24 new signatories to join the pledge, led by the US and EU, to slash planet-warming methane emissions by 30 per cent by the end of the decade. World leaders are galvanizing rapid climate action ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this month.

Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, United States, European Union were among the nine early supporters of the Global Methane Pledge. The partnership now covers 60 per cent of global GDP and 30 per cent of global methane emissions.

“It could have unprecedentedly a powerful bearing on the energy, agriculture and waste sectors responsible for the large-scale emissions of methane gas,” Amin Aslam said.

Pakistan received a special invitation to join the Methane pledge club thanks to its extremely successful and globally acclaimed green initiatives and programmes and projects for climate change mitigation and adaptation including the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, e-vehicle, renewable and ecosystem restoration projects, the PM’s aide said.

At a recent meeting, US special climate change envoy John Kerry lauded the climate change-related green initiatives launched in Pakistan under PM Imran Khan’s vision for clean green and climate-resilient Pakistan, Amin recalled.

Detailing the sources of methane emissions, the PM’s aide said that the countries represent a range of different methane emissions profiles, and in Pakistan, the agriculture sector is considered as a major source that emits a significant quantity of the highly climate-potent odourless gas.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the warming power than that of carbon dioxide (CO2) and causing climate change. Being the biggest component of natural gas and used for fuel, its leakages are caused by poorly constructed conventional drilling operations, shale gas wells, gas pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure, the official statement said. Reducing methane emissions is complementary to action on greenhouse gases, and is considered the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming.

Several recent studies have already called for the need for governments to slash methane emissions to reach the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Referring to a landmark United Nations scientific report released in August this year, Malik Amin said that strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions and slashing CO2 emissions could have a far-reaching impact on the climate.

Global Change Impact Studies Center (GCISC), a climate change research arm of the climate change ministry, has prepared the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for year 2017-2018 for Pakistan’s first biennial update report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The report shows the total emissions from Pakistan stand at around 489.87 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2eqv) for the year 2018, with the energy sector contributing 218.94, industrial processes 25.76, agriculture, forestry and land use 223.45 and waste 21.72 MtCO2 equivalent, respectively. Of the total 489.87 Mt CO2 eq, as much as 135.89 Mt CO2 eq emissions are from methane, which includes 6.88 Mt CO2 eq from energy sector 2.95 MtCO2 eq from Fuel combustion activities and 3.93 Mt CO2 eq are fugitive emissions from fuel, Malik Amin Aslam added.