A Pivotal Call to Action
In a groundbreaking move, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and the United Arab Emirates joined forces in a Summit aimed at accelerating global efforts to combat climate change.
Furthermore, the focus on methane and non-CO2 greenhouse gases is recognized as the swiftest means to curb near-term warming and achieve the crucial goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Ambitious Commitments and Unprecedented Funding
At the heart of the Summit, the United Arab Emirates issued a resounding call to all Paris Agreement signatories. Urging them to submit comprehensive 2035 nationally determined contributions encompassing all greenhouse gases, this bold move aligns with the G20 Leaders Statement and resonates with commitments made by the U.S. and PRC in the Sunnylands Statement
Governments, philanthropies, and the private sector united to announce an extraordinary $1 billion in new grant funding for methane reduction. This groundbreaking initiative, mobilized since COP27 triples the current annual grant funding and is set to leverage billions in project investment.
Additionally, governments reaffirmed their commitment to the largest-ever replenishment of the Montreal Multilateral Fund, injecting $965 million to support the Kigali Amendment implementation and energy efficiency.
The Urgency of Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases
Methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases, often overshadowed, are responsible for over 50% of current warming. Despite this, they receive less than half of the global climate attention. These potent gases, including methane, hydrofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide, and tropospheric ozone, are significantly more impactful than carbon dioxide.
Immediate Action Required
To maintain the 1.5-degree goal and mitigate near-term risks, urgent action on non-CO2 greenhouse gases is imperative. They play a pivotal role in the energy transition and the fight against deforestation.
While CO2 shapes our long-term climate, non-CO2 gases exert a disproportionate impact on short-term temperatures. Accelerated cuts to methane and non-CO2 gases could prevent up to 0.5 degrees of warming by 2050, offering a triple solution—advancing global climate, health, and food security objectives simultaneously.
Major Announcements to Combat Greenhouse Gases
The Summit unveiled major announcements targeting methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and cooling.
Methane, the Swift Solution: Responsible for 30% of current warming, reducing methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, in line with the Global Methane Pledge, could cool global temperatures by over 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050. The U.S. finalized standards for a nearly 80% reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, a move expected to prevent 1.5 gigatons of CO2 emissions over the next 15 years.
Kazakhstan Joins the Pledge: Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Angola, Kenya, and Romania joined the Global Methane Pledge, signaling a global commitment to tackle methane emissions. Kazakhstan further announced a collaboration with the United States to develop national standards, accelerating methane mitigation.
Brazil’s Commitment: Brazil announced plans for guidelines on methane reduction in the oil and gas sector by the end of 2024, with regulations to be finalized by 2025. Nigeria, a Global Methane Pledge Champion, showcased projects estimated to capture over half of all gas flaring volumes.
Addressing Hydrofluorocarbons and Cooling
The HFC Challenge: Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used in cooling, cause hundreds to thousands of times more warming than CO2. Action to reduce HFCs and enhance cooling efficiency could mitigate 0.1 degrees of warming by 2050 and avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100.
UAE’s Pledge on HFCs: The United Arab Emirates announced its intention to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, addressing HFCs.
Global Cooling Pledge: Governments welcomed the imminent launch of the Global Cooling Pledge, a landmark COP28 initiative. This initiative aims to reduce global cooling-related emissions across all sectors and substantially increase access to sustainable cooling by 2030.
The Summit on Methane and Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases marked a historic stride toward a sustainable future. Moreover, with ambitious commitments, unprecedented funding, and collaborative global efforts, nations have set the stage for a decisive battle against climate change. The urgent call for action resonates, reminding us emphatically that the time to act is now.