Global emissions of methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas, surged to a record high in a decade with almost 9% increase until 2017 from the early 2000s, according to an international study.
The study conducted by the Global Carbon Project stated that although the world observed drop in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions due to worldwide lockdown, a massive rise in methane emissions have been observed, posing a greater threat and remains the main cause of global warming.
The dominant cause for the rise is mostly driven by anthropogenic emissions from agriculture, waste, fossil fuel leaks, emissions from wetlands, freshwater systems, and geological sources.
Waste, and agriculture causes are mostly driven from southern and southeastern Asia, including China, and increases in the fossil fuel sector from the United States. The study found that in contrast, Europe is the only continent in which methane emissions appear to be decreasing.
Although methane is far less abundant in the atmosphere than CO2, it absorbs thermal infrared radiation much more efficiently and, in consequence, has a global warming potential (GWP) 86 times stronger per unit mass than CO2, if taken on a 20-year timescale, the report read.
It warms the planet more than any other gas and contributes to earth's warming 28 times more than Carbon Dioxide.
Researchers in the report has observed that if the emissions continue to rise, and the world warms up beyond the current trajectory, it would expose millions of people to life-threatening heat waves, freshwater shortages and coastal flooding from sea-level rise.