As climate change activists narrow in on the animal agricultural industry, governments worldwide are initiating programs to cut down emissions across the entire market. Recently, eight countries announced pledges to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent over the next ten years. The United States and European Union just announced the Global Methane Pledge to reduce worldwide methane emissions ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) this year.

The announcement follows the UN’s “code red” report that called for immediate regulations restricting the level of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Following this research, the European Commission declared that reducing methane emissions, across every industry, is the “single most effective strategy in reducing global warming."

The environmentalist pledge was introduced during a virtual conference regarding the climate crisis that hosted world leaders to discuss future regulatory measures. The involved countries include Argentina, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK, Ghana, Iraq, and the United States. The European Union also joined the discussions. The White House revealed in a statement that among the enlisted countries, six of the top 15 methane emitters were represented.

“This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit, like improving public health and agricultural output,” President Joseph Biden said. “We believe the collective goal is both ambitious but realistic. And we urge you to join us in announcing this pledge at COP26.

The countries signing the pledge promise to cut emissions by 2030. The EU Commission announced that if all participating countries follow these regulations that it could limit global warming by 0.2 degrees celsius by 2050.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to the agriculture industry, specifically through livestock production. The USDA reports that methane comprises 36 percent of greenhouse gases produced in the entire agriculture industry. The pledge argues that cutting the methane emissions worldwide could slow the human impact on the climate crisis and move towards reversal.

President Biden believes that by working with the other countries, the global animal agriculture industry could innovate its current production practices to incorporate more sustainable technologies. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the world will tackle the environmentally damaging byproducts of the animal agriculture industry. Beyond the animal agriculture industry, the pledge promises to extend its regulations across multiple areas including the energy sector and pollution.

“Countries have widely varying methane emissions profiles and reduction potential, but all can contribute to achieving the collective global goal through additional domestic methane reduction and international cooperative actions,” the Joint US-EU statement reads. “Major sources of methane emissions include oil and gas, coal, agriculture, and landfills.”

The United Nations recently released its Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions report that explained the impact that the highly volatile greenhouse gas had on the environment. The report highlights the human causes that have increased methane emissions over the recent decades, emphasizing the need to reduce its emissions as it is ten times more powerful than C02 when regarding climate warming.

“The existence of readily available, low-cost, targeted measures, and methane’s short-lived atmospheric lifetime means significant climate and clean air benefits can be achieved by 2030.” the report reads. “Targets and performance indicators to reduce methane must address the combined and multiple impacts methane has on climate, air quality, public health, agricultural production, and ecosystem health.”

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