At the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, the US and the EU initiated the Global Methane Pledge, aiming, by 2030, to lower methane emissions to 70% of the amount emitted in 2020. The EPA explained that 90% of Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions are carbon dioxide (CO2) while 1.67% are methane, no oil or natural gas exploitation caused methane fugitive emissions. Due to efforts in waste reduction and biogas recycling and disposal, 2019 methane emissions were only half the amount in 2005.
Recent research shows that 60% of global man-made methane emissions come from agricultural activities and waste while 40% comes from the mining and use of fossil fuels. Africa, the Middle East, China, South Asia, and Oceania are places with the largest increases in methane emissions, yet the main causes of these emissions are not the same in different areas. For example, the major source of methane emissions in Africa, South Asia, and Oceania is agriculture, while fossil fuels account for the most in China. With the continuous increase of global methane emissions, the Global Methane Pledge advocates reduction of fugitive methane and emissions from wastes, agriculture, mining, processing, storage, production, manufacture, and transportation of natural gas.
The EPA explained that, based on data in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, Taiwan emitted 287.09 MtCO2e in 2019 and that 90% of that was CO2. There were 4.786 metric tons of methane emitted, which accounted for 1.67% of total emissions, which mainly came from agriculture and wastes. Garbage landfills along with wastewater discharge and disposal generated 2.102 million metric tons of methane (43.9%), while fermentation in livestock digestive systems and of manure accounted for 1.942 million metric tons (40.6%). Problems of fugitive methane or methane emissions caused by extracting petroleum or natural gas do not exist in Taiwan.
Comparing emissions trends, in 2019, 4,786,000 metric tons of methane were emitted, nearly 50% less than methane emitted in 2005 (9,508,000 million metric tons). Such a large decrease was mainly the result of Taiwan's long-term work to reduce the volume of garbage and landfills as well as increasing biogas capture at existing landfills. Meanwhile, the EPA has been implementing policies that properly collect and treat household and industrial wastewater and also encourage the livestock industry to collect biogas for power generation. All these measures have contributed to significant achievements in lowering methane emissions.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, November 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)