Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted by human activities and has a direct influence on climate, but also indirectly affects human health, crop yields and the quality and productivity of vegetation through its role as an important precursor to formation of tropospheric ozone. It is a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP), and though its 12-year lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than carbon dioxide (CO2), it is much more efficient at trapping radiation. Per unit of mass, the impact of CH4 on climate change over 20 years is 86 times greater than CO2; over a 100-year period, it’s 28 times greater. But, this also means that reducing CH4 results in rapid and massive benefits, both for people and the planet.
Considering the importance of reducing CH4 to achieve net zero emission targets, over 100 countries joined the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) at COP26 in November 2021, committing to collectively cut global anthropogenic CH4 emissions by at least 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels. Cambodia, one of the initial countries signed to the GMP from Asia, has identified the importance of addressing CH4 in its 3rd National Communication in 2022. When looking at the trends in the generation of GHG emissions, there was an increase in the total emissions (with the FOLU sector) in 2010, when compared to 2005, from 39,148.29 GgCO2e to 43,643.98 GgCO2e. In terms of the contribution of each GHG to total national emissions, CO2 is the main contributor, followed by CH4, dinitrogen monoxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). The percentage of the total contribution of each gas to the total emission, however, shows the increase of CH4 and N2O when compared to CO2. The percentage of the increase in the contribution of CH4 to national GHG emissions with FOLU was 35% in 2010, while 65% was without FOLU. More than half of global CH4 emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: fossil fuels (35% of human-caused emissions), waste (20%) and agriculture (40%).
In Cambodia, the highest CH4 emission-generating sectors were AFOLU (13,381.80 GgCO2e), waste (1,589.94 GgCO2e) and energy (266.4 GgCO2e) in 2010. In this regard, the IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (IGES-CCET) with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) assists the Department of Climate Change (DCC) in the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Cambodia to develop a National Methane Roadmap to discuss priorities and identify most efficient CH4 mitigation strategies and resources to mitigate CH4 and realize the goals of the Pledge to limit warming to 1.5ºC. As a first step, the inception meeting was held on 10 May 2023 inviting key stakeholders from the national government, the GHG Inventory sub-working group members, academic and others to brief the project and discuss the current situation, including data availability and policy implementation for CH4 emissions in Cambodia. Also, it aims to get consensus about the planned activities, timeframe, and project monitoring plan as well as to seek for administrative and political supports from Cambodia for the implementation of the project.
The details are on IGES website as well.