UN General Assembly calls for a greenhouse gas monitoring system

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Csaba Kőrösi, president of the UN General Assembly, has urged governments to consider building a greenhouse gas monitoring system – one of WMO initiatives presented at the UN Climate Change negotiations, COP27 – to inform climate change mitigation.

Kőrösi addressed the COP27 Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) ministerial, which focused on how to cut short-lived climate pollutants, including methane. According to the coalition, the fast reduction of these pollutants would help avert 0.6°C of predicted global warming in the near term, and would also have major benefits for health through improvements in air quality as well as for agriculture and natural ecosystems.

The WMO’s latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that greenhouse gas levels continue to grow in the atmosphere; 2021 saw the biggest jump in methane concentrations since measurements began in the 1980s. John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said, “Reducing short-lived climate pollutants is the fastest solution the world has to reduce global temperatures.”

At the ministerial, two pieces of CCAC research were launched. Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, launched the CCAC-UNEP Baseline CH4 Emissions Projections through 2030 report, which shows that the amount of methane in the atmosphere is increasing at record rates and makes an ever-stronger case for urgent action. It projected that under business-as-usual scenarios, methane emissions would increase by 5-13% by 2030 from 2020 levels. However, they need to decline by at least 30% to meet the Global Methane Pledge. The research also found that if global emissions were cut by 30% as set out in Global Methane Pledge, warming would be reduced by at least 0.2°C between 2040 and 2070, compared to baseline projected methane emissions.

Ministers also reflected on the progress made in the one year since the Global Methane Pledge was announced at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Over half of the top 20 methane emitters are now part of the pledge, representing half of the global methane emissions and nearly two-thirds of the global economy.

Dr Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary-General of the WMO, said, “The WMO has long-term experience in setting standards and in coordinating global observations (including of greenhouse gases and traditional air pollutants), international data exchange, modeling and research. Based on this experience and in cooperation with the other relevant agencies WMO is developing a concept of an internationally coordinated global greenhouse gas monitoring system (mainly carbon dioxide and methane) integrating current and future satellites, ground measurements and modeling. Information provided by such a system on a routine basis will be of a great help to the coalition partners in support of their efforts to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. WMO calls all to support this development.”

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