The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), in partnership with the Global Methane Hub and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), gathered national and international policymakers, country representatives, project developers, and organizations from more than 50 countries to share replicable successes to catalyze methane emission reductions in line with the Global Methane Pledge.

The Global Methane Pledge aims to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. It has 157 countries and the EU on board. 

The Global Methane Forum sought to “turn commitment into real cuts in methane emissions” to help achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2050.

A UNECE press release notes that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) with a warming effect more than 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year timeframe. “Methane is responsible for around 30% of total warming since the Industrial Revolution and is the second largest contributor to global warming after CO2,” meaning that “action to cut emissions now can unlock significant near-term benefits for climate action.”

Methane emissions need to be addressed in governments’ plans for stronger climate action.

— UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean

Cutting methane emissions is also highly cost-effective. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), over 75% of methane emissions from oil and gas operations and 50% of emissions from coal can be abated with existing technology. UNECE additionally notes that “35% of oil and gas emissions and 10% of coal mine emissions could be avoided at no cost.” 

“Meeting the goals currently set in the Global Methane Pledge has the potential to reduce global warming by at least 0.2° C by 2050,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean addressing the Forum’s opening plenary. She stressed “the world can simply not afford to miss this opportunity.” 

The Forum featured innovative and proven methane mitigation activities across major methane-emitting sectors – biogas, coal mines, and oil and gas systems. Session panelists shared experiences and lessons learned on technical, policy, financing, and regulatory issues around methane policy and project development.

Global Methane Forum 2024 convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18-21 March 2024. It is the only global methane-focused event occurring between the 2023 and 2024 UN Climate Change Conferences. [Global Methane Forum 2024] [UNECE Press Release]