IPCC Underscores Need to Slash Methane, Deploy Natural Climate Solutions

Statement of EDF President Fred Krupp

August 9, 2021
Matthew McGee, (512) 691-3478, mmcgee@edf.org

(NEW YORK, NY) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today released its Sixth Assessment Report, which summarizes the current state of Earth’s warming climate while looking ahead to future scenarios with and without effective climate action.

“The latest report from top international scientists – which warns that we will likely exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming a decade earlier than expected – should trigger both serious concern and concerted action by policymakers around the world. The report makes clear that if we don’t move aggressively to cut the pollution heating our atmosphere, we are guaranteeing a less stable, less habitable and less prosperous world now and in the future.

“This report also provides a road map for slowing the rate of warming and protecting our communities from even more instability. For the first time, the IPCC highlights the importance of short-lived, highly potent pollutants such as methane, which alone accounts for at least 25% of the warming we are currently experiencing. The report quashes any remaining debate about the urgent need to slash methane pollution, especially from sectors such as oil and gas, where the available reductions are fastest and cheapest. When it comes to our overheating planet, every fraction of a degree matters – and there is no faster, more achievable way to slow the rate of warming than by cutting human-caused methane emissions.

“As the report makes equally clear, we need to simultaneously amp up efforts to slash carbon dioxide emissions while actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This is where protecting and restoring nature can deliver big gains. Natural climate solutions provided by forests, grasslands and wetlands not only draw down carbon and store it underground, but also help clean the air and water, and buffer communities from increased storms, flooding and drought. Best of all, natural climate solutions are available to deploy today and have the potential to provide a significant proportion of the climate mitigation we need between now and 2030.

“In the United States, Congress has a narrow window to take the kind of bold action necessary to meet this challenge. As it considers legislation to rebuild our infrastructure and invest in our people, it must move aggressively to clean up the largest sources of climate pollution and address environmental injustice. As the new IPCC report vividly demonstrates, this may be our last best chance to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”

  • Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

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