Methane (“CH4”) is the simplest alkane and the main component of natural
gas. It is the second most important manmade greenhouse
gas (“GHG”) after carbon dioxide and it is responsible
for more than a third of total anthropogenic climate
forcing. The World Bank estimates that actions to reduce
methane emissions represent as much as half of the potential
that can be achieved in avoided global warming by 2050.
Methane is the second most abundant GHG accounting for
14 percent of global GHG emissions. Methane is considered
a “short-term climate forcer,” meaning that it has a
relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere, approximately
12 years. While methane is in the atmosphere for a shorter
period of time and is emitted in smaller quantities
than CO2, its ability to trap heat in the atmosphere,
which is called its “global warming potential,” is 25
times greater than that of CO2.