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Methane (CH4)

This section presents an overview of:

  1. major trends in CH4 emissions from 1970-2005,
  2. importance of different CH4 emissions source categories, and
  3. emissions on 0.1 degree grid.

Download emissions by country.

Download emissions on grid.

1. Major trends in CH4 emissions 1970-2005

Global methane (CH4) emissions show an increase from ~260 Tg CH4 in 1970 to ~350 Tg in 2005 (Figure 1). According to our calculations, this trend is a combination of a modest annual increase in the period 1970-1992, followed by a rather constant emission trend in the period 1993-2000 and a strong emission in the last 5 years. In the 1990s emissions in industrialized countries have decreased, while in developing countries, CH4 emissions increase modestly in the 1990s followed by a stronger increase after the year 2000.

Figure 1: Graph: global methane emissions by world region (1970-2005) in Tg CH4.
Figure 1: Global methane emissions by world region (1970-2005) in Tg CH4 [click to enlarge].

2. Important CH4 emission source categories

Methane emissions are dominated by agriculture, fuel production and waste (Figure 2). As shown in Figure 3, emissions from coal production are relatively constant over the years until about the year 2000. This trend is due to the combination of increased coal production and increased methane recovery in mines. After the year 2000 the global coal production is increasing rapidly which is visible in the emission trend. The oil and gas production emission trend clearly shows the first and second oil crisis and the gas production shows a strong increase after the year 2000 in analogy with the emissions from coal production. Agricultural emission trends are presented in more detail in Figure 4. Major trends in agricultural emissions are the decrease in rice cultivation emissions caused by the introduction of different cultivation practices and the growth in emissions from enteric fermentation due to the increasing demand for animal products.

Figure 2: Trends in global emissions of methane by major source category (1970-2005) in Tg CH4.
Figure 2: Trends in global emissions of methane by major source category (1970-2005) in Tg CH4 [click to enlarge].

Figure 3: Methane emissions in IPCC category 1B in Tg CH4.
Figure 3: Methane emissions in IPCC category 1B in Tg CH4 [click to enlarge].

Figure 4: Methane emissions in IPCC category 4 in Tg CH4.
Figure 4: Methane emissions in IPCC category 4 in Tg CH4 [click to enlarge].

3. CH4 emissions on 0.1 degree grid

Emissions by country and sector are allocated to a spatial grid of 0.1 x 0.1 degree. See methodology section for information on spatial allocation maps applied for the relevant CH4 sectors. An illustration is presented below with global gridded methane emissions (excluding aviation, and emissions from large scale biomass burning).

Figure 5: Global gridded methane emissions in the year 2005 (unit ton CH4 per grid cell).
Figure 5: Global gridded methane emissions in the year 2005 (unit ton CH4 per grid cell) [click to enlarge].

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