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Methane Emissions

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 9 June 2021

What progress the Government has made on raising international ambition to cut methane emissions in preparation for COP26. (900916)

As incoming COP President, the UK is committed to reducing all greenhouse gas emissions and is encouraging all countries to raise their climate ambition in nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies ahead of COP26. The UK announced its NDC last December; it is an all-economy target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% on 1990 levels by 2030, and the UK’s sixth carbon budget will require UK greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 78% by 2035. The emissions scope of these targets does include methane.

A lot of the debate and discussion focuses on reducing the carbon footprint. I am glad that the Minister includes methane; as she will know, over the course of 20 years, 1 tonne of methane will warm the atmosphere about 86 times more than 1 tonne of carbon. Given that the UN and Climate & Clean Air Coalition report demonstrates that we can nearly halve those emissions by 2030 by using existing technology, will my right hon. Friend assure the House that the Government will make securing commitments to reductions in methane a priority at the upcoming COP?

In the UK, we are tackling methane emissions domestically by supporting the agriculture sector to reduce its emissions further through the agricultural transition plan. We have made good progress already to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, in our domestic agriculture sector. We produce a litre of milk with 17% less greenhouse gas emissions and a kilogram of pork with 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than in 1990. In our role as COP president, the UK has established a new international dialogue to raise international ambition on the transition to sustainable agriculture, with around 20 countries currently participating.