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Global Methane Pledge a ‘major change in policy’

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

The United States and European Union are poised to seek the support of other critical greenhouse gas emitting nations for a new Global Methane Pledge designed to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. Cornell University has deeply researched methane emissions and its environmental impact and the following scientists are available for interviews.

John D. Albertson

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

John Albertson is a professor of civil and environmental engineering focused on sourcing and monitoring industrial methane emissions. His research is aimed at providing solutions to industrial emissions through the mAIRsure project. A 2019 study led by Albertson used a Google Street View car equipped with a high-precision methane sensor and found that methane emissions from the industrial sector have been vastly underestimated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Robert Howarth

Robert Howarth

David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology

Robert Howarth is a professor of ecology and environmental biology and a faculty fellow at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for Sustainability. He studies the greenhouse gas footprint of methane extracted from shale formations such as the Marcellus shale. Howarth authored a study in Biogeosciences demonstrating that increased emissions from the oil and gas industry prompted a global spike in atmospheric methane and showed in more recent research that blue hydrogen, which uses methane from natural gas, may harm the climate more than burning fossil fuel.  

Howarth says:

“The U.S. and European Union are taking a critical step forward in committing to reduce methane emissions, and encouraging other nations to do so as well. Methane has caused 40% of the global warming observed over recent decades, according to the latest report from the IPCC last month. The IPCC also noted the importance of reducing methane emissions if the world is to meet the goals of the UN COP21 meeting in Paris from 2015, keeping the world well below 2 degrees Celsius.

“Earlier this year, the United Nations Environment Programme concluded that global methane emissions could be reduced by 45% by 2030, and that doing so would carve 0.3 degrees Celsius off global warming. In this context, the push for a 30% reduction by the U.S. and EU is on the low side, but still a major change in policy that more sharply focuses on the second most important greenhouse gas, methane.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.