Agricultural methane and its role as a greenhouse gas

Agricultural methane and its role as a greenhouse gas

Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)

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There has recently been a lot of focus on methane, as it is an important contributor to climate change. The food system is one of the largest emitters of methane, and the gas is particularly associated with ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) and with rice production. Despite its significance as a greenhouse gas, there is also considerable confusion over how we should quantify the climate impacts of methane emissions. This is because there are important differences in how methane and carbon dioxide – the major human-generated greenhouse gas – affect the climate.

This explainer provides an overview of the key points about methane, and addresses some common areas of confusion.


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