Climate Change ☀️
Halting the Vast Release of Methane Is Critical for Climate, U.N. Says
A landmark United Nations report is expected to declare that reducing emissions of methane, the main component of natural gas, will need to play a far more vital role in warding off the worst effects of climate change.

The global methane assessment, compiled by an international team of scientists, reflects a growing recognition that the world needs to start reining in planet-warming emissions more rapidly, and that abating methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, will be critical in the short term.

It follows new data that showed that both carbon dioxide and methane levels in the atmosphere reached record highs last year, even as the coronavirus pandemic brought much of the global economy to a halt. The report also comes as a growing body of scientific evidence has shown that releases of methane from oil and gas production, one of the biggest sources of methane linked to human activity, may be larger than earlier estimates.

The report, a detailed summary of which was reviewed by The New York Times, singles out the fossil fuel industry as holding the greatest potential to cut its methane emissions at little or no cost. It also says that — unless there is significant deployment of unproven technologies capable of pulling greenhouse gases out of the air — expanding the use of natural gas is incompatible with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a goal of the international Paris Agreement.

The reason methane would be particularly valuable in the short-term fight against climate change: While methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, it is also relatively short-lived, lasting just a decade or so in the atmosphere before breaking down. That means cutting new methane emissions today, and starting to reduce methane concentrations in the atmosphere, could more quickly help the world meet its midcentury targets for fighting global warming.

By contrast, carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, lasts for hundreds of years in the atmosphere. So while it remains critical to keep reducing carbon emissions, which make up the bulk of our greenhouse gas emissions, it would take until the second half of the century to see the climate effects.

Over all, a concerted effort to reduce methane from the fossil fuel, waste and agricultural sectors could slash methane emissions by as much as 45 percent by 2030, helping to avoid nearly 0.3 degrees Celsius of global warming as early as the 2040s, the report says.


While cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions will remain urgent, “it’s going to be next to impossible to remove enough carbon dioxide to get any real benefits for the climate in the first half of the century,” said Drew Shindell, the study’s lead author and a professor of earth science at Duke University. “But if we can make a big enough cut in methane in the next decade, we’ll see public health benefits within the decade, and climate benefits within two decades,” he said.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/24/climate/methane-leaks-united-nations.html

Climate has shifted the axis of the Earth, study finds
Loss of water on land through ice melting and human-caused factors is changing the movement of the North and South poles

Glacial melting due to global warming is likely the cause of a shift in the movement of the poles that occurred in the 1990s.

The locations of the North and South poles aren't static, unchanging spots on our planet. The axis Earth spins around -- or more specifically the surface that invisible line emerges from -- is always moving due to processes scientists don't completely understand. The way water is distributed on Earth's surface is one factor that drives the drift.

Melting glaciers redistributed enough water to cause the direction of polar wander to turn and accelerate eastward during the mid-1990s,
according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters, AGU's journal for high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210425114433.htm

Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations