The mitigation of methane emissions from industrialized countries can explain the atmospheric concentration level-off

Ilkka Savolainen, S. Monni, S. Syri

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Methane (CH4) is the second-most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Recently, CH4 concentration increase in the atmosphere has been observed to level-off. We analyze the emission trends based on statistics from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and show, using a single box model, that the decrease in the reported emissions from industrialized countries contribute to the reduced increase in CH4 concentration. The total reduction in CH4 emissions from industrial countries was 25 Tg yr−1 between 1990 and 2003. The reductions consisted of landfill gas recovery and other waste management policies, CH4 collection in coal mines, the repairing of gas networks, and structural changes in economy. Our study implies that the reduction of CH4 emissions can effectively mitigate climate change on a short time scale, and that the first results of mitigation measures are already observable in the atmosphere. However, there is an evident risk that the methane concentration will start to rise again due to increasing emissions from developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
JournalInternational Journal of Energy for a Clean Environment
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Climate change
  • emissions reduction
  • industrial countries
  • methane

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