A year since the UK signed the Global Methane Pledge at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the UK government has made little headway in showing how it will cut methane emissions to meet its 30 per cent reduction target.
The UK government has been a global leader in reducing methane by 60 per cent since 1990. However, cutting methane further is a crucial pillar of the UK’s action to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees.
A new report by think tank Green Alliance finds that the UK can reduce methane emissions by 43 per cent this decade with a menu of low cost policies. 
The UK is set to hand over the COP presidency to Egypt ahead of the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November. Committing to an action plan to accelerate methane cuts would demonstrate the UK’s global leadership on climate change set a benchmark for action as the UK has done with the phase out of coal power.
The report highlights the waste industry as having the greatest potential to reduce methane. By bringing forward the UK’s ban on landfilling biodegradable waste to 2025 and mandating landfill operators to increase biogas capture, the UK could reduce methane emissions by 19 per cent by 2030.
A further nine per cent of methane savings could come from regulating the gas industry to end methane leaks, as urged by the IEA (International Energy Agency). Plugging these leaks would rapidly increase gas supplies to the UK, supporting UK energy security. Because gas prices are so high, almost all the required actions are now highly profitable for gas companies.
The report also urged the UK government to adopt measures to cut methane in the agriculture and land use sector, which represents over half of the total methane produced in the UK. By feeding dairy cows the methane reducing supplement Bovaer/3-NOP, improving the management of slurry, along with encouraging the consumption of alternative proteins, as well as fruit and vegetables, the UK could shave a further 15 per cent off its methane emissions.
Dustin Benton, policy director at Green Alliance, said:
“The UK is handing over its COP presidency to Egypt this year, with the goal of ‘keeping 1.5 alive.’ Because methane emissions are accelerating the warming of the planet faster than carbon dioxide, it’s essential that both methane and carbon dioxide are cut rapidly.
“Our work is the first to show how the UK can exceed its global methane pledge by 2030, using low cost policies that not only reduce methane emissions, but also create new industries in alternative proteins, and improve our energy security in the face of the gas crisis”.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank, focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. With a track record of over 40 years, Green Alliance has worked with the most influential leaders from the NGO, business, academic and political communities. Our work generates new thinking and dialogue, and has increased political action and support for environmental solutions in the UK.
 Green Alliance, The Global Methane Pledge: How the UK can meet its commitment, November 2022