Groundbreaking methane alliance established at COP28

A game changing agreement between major agriculture firms has been finalised at the UN climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates this week.

herd of cattle standing near house

In total, six of the largest names in the dairy farming sector have now pledged to begin disclosing their methane gas emissions. General Mills, Lactalis USA, Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Bel Group and Danone have all signed up. More companies are expected to join the scheme in the future.

This is the first time in history that this data will be measured and made public, raising hopes of more effective approaches to reduction and mitigation. By late-2024, not only will every member organisation need to publish its methane output, they will also need to produce an action plan on how to bring this down in the near, mid and long-term.

It is believed that around one-third of global heating to date has been directly caused by methane. When looking at levels of the gas in the atmosphere, some 30% can be attributed to the rearing of livestock, either through the use of manure to fertilise land, or via animals themselves passing gas.

Despite this, studies and regulations surrounding methane emissions have until now focused entirely on the oil and gas industry. This reflects a wider issue, with agriculture and food production two of the most impactful activities on the environment, but it has taken 28 editions of COP for these industries to begin to share centre stage with more widely understood problems, such as carbon output.

‘The investment focus remains on CO2 reduction, due to the increasingly competitive and attractive international carbon market,’ said Alastair Collier, Founder and Chief R&D Officer at climate tech firm A Healthier Earth. ‘But, with methane such a rapid driver of rising temperatures, this must change. The carbon market must be expanded to include methane too.

‘While oil and gas have taken the spotlight in discussions so far, farming is also a major contributor, accounting for a third (32%) of human-caused methane emissions and 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions,’ he continued. ‘These emissions primarily come from cattle. However, to date, there has been little incentive for farmers to take action.’

More on COP28: 

COP28: ‘Break the destructive cycle of climate change and air pollution’

Breathe Cities initiative gains new members at COP28

UAE PM2.5 ‘three times’ recommended limits as COP28 continues

Image: David Dolenc


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