The Role of Methane in Climate Change

Methane has been postulated to be a significant greenhouse gas, with a suggested impact 28 times that of water vapour (i.e. H20).

As a significant source of methane is livestock emissions, there are ongoing stories published in the mainstream media that our societies must consider changing our protien source to plant-based products to minimize the risk of climate change.

One important aspect of greenhouse gasses is their ability to have a cumulative effect. However, if a bandwith of radiation is already saturated by a more common gas, the effect of the additional gas on radiation input or output is effectively zero. Methane happens to affect the same bandwidths as the most prevalent greenhouse gas, water vapour.

And when methane is oxidized, it forms… yes, H20 and CO2. It doesn’t remain for long periods of time in the atmosphere as methane before breaking down. CO2 may last for thousands of years, while methane will last on average for between 20-40 years.

In summary, humans should minimize any pollutants. But we should focus on the pollutants that matter. The choice to reduce pollution should be based on scientific facts rather than ‘feel good’ presumptions that relate to other agendas.

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