This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “METHANE POLLUTION”. The topic “METHANE POLLUTION” has relevance in the Environment section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

About Methane?

About Termination-Level Transition?

For Mains:

GS 3: Environment

Methane’s Impact on Climate?

Initiatives to tackle methane pollution?


Why in the news:

The rapid increase in methane concentrations within Earth’s atmosphere has sparked apprehensions regarding the current state of the planet’s climate evolution.


About Methane

Methane’s importance extends beyond its warming potential:

  • Methane, the simplest hydrocarbon, is composed of a single carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4).
  • It’s flammable and widely used as a fuel source globally.
  • Its greenhouse effect is over 80 times stronger than CO₂ within the first two decades of its presence in the atmosphere.
  • While natural sources emit some methane, human activities like farming and fossil fuel use are the main culprits.


Termination-Level Transition: 

  • The term “termination-level transition” refers to a sudden and significant climate shift on Earth. These shifts bring about rapid changes in climate factors, impacting ecosystems, weather patterns, and the environment.
  • These transitions have occurred throughout Earth’s history, often coinciding with the end of ice ages and the transition to warmer periods. Notably, during the Pleistocene epoch (around 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago), the planet experienced global cooling and subsequent warmer interglacial periods.
  • Such transitions can be triggered by factors like changes in ocean currents and atmospheric composition.


Methane’s Impact on Climate:

Methane poses a notable threat to our climate due to its unique properties:

  • Potent Greenhouse Gas: Methane has a higher heat-trapping capability than carbon dioxide (CO₂). Despite its shorter presence in the atmosphere, its warming effect over a century is much stronger, about 28-36 times that of CO₂.
  • Rising Methane Levels: Human activities have raised methane levels from around 0.7 parts per million (ppm) to over 1.9 ppm. This escalation accelerates global warming.
  • Challenges in Temperature Control: Increasing methane complicates efforts to limit global warming. It adds to the overall greenhouse gas effect, pushing temperatures higher and closer to critical limits.
  • Impact on Ecosystems: Higher methane levels disrupt ecosystems and biodiversity. Fragile habitats like wetlands are particularly vulnerable to these changes.
  • Sea-Level Rise Concerns: Elevated methane contributes to melting polar ice and glaciers, accelerating sea-level rise. This endangers coastal areas and worsens climate change effects.

Taking Action: Initiatives to Tackle Methane

Both India and the world are taking steps to combat methane emissions:


Indian Initiatives:

  • Harit Dhara (HD): Developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, HD is a feed supplement that could potentially reduce cattle methane emissions by 17-20% while boosting milk production.
  • India Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Program: Led by WRI India, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the India GHG Program aims to establish a framework for measuring and managing greenhouse gas emissions. This collaborative effort aids businesses in adopting more sustainable practices, minimizing their environmental footprint, and contributing to India’s climate commitments.
  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): Launched in 2008, it raises awareness and outlines strategies to counter climate change.
  • Bharat Stage-VI Norms: India’s transition to BS-VI emission norms aims to cut vehicular emissions.


Global Initiatives:

  • Methane Alert and Response System (MARS): This system uses satellite data to alert stakeholders about methane emissions worldwide.
  • Global Methane Pledge: Nearly 100 countries pledged to reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels during the 2021 UNFCCC COP 26.
  • Global Methane Initiative (GMI): This collaboration promotes methane recovery and utilization as a clean energy source.



Q.1 Which of the following substances are emitted into the atmosphere as a result of burning crop or biomass residue?

(a) Carbon monoxide and methane only

(b) Methane, ozone, and sulphur dioxide only

(c) Carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide only

(d) Carbon monoxide, methane, ozone, and sulphur dioxide



Q.2 Which of the following assertions regarding ‘methane hydrate’ deposits is/are accurate?

  1. The warming of the planet could potentially induce the liberation of methane gas from these reserves.
  2. Vast accumulations of ‘methane hydrate’ are present beneath the sea floor and in the Arctic Tundra.
  3. Methane within the atmosphere undergoes oxidation, transitioning into carbon dioxide within a span of one or two decades.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Q.3 “How does methane pollution contribute to global warming, and what are the measures being taken by countries and international collaborations to mitigate its effects on the environment?”


No Comments

Post A Comment