Agricultural methane emission reduction can learn from the energy industry

As an important energy gas, methane is the second largest greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. From the perspective of emission sources, methane emissions in the global energy sector account for approximately 40% of the total methane emissions, while agriculture and animal husbandry also account for 40% of methane emissions. However, society has higher requirements for emission reduction in the field of energy and chemical engineering, and slightly lower requirements for methane in agriculture and animal husbandry. This part comes from the stereotype that industry is more responsible for pollution, and another reason is that reducing pollutants in the industrial sector is indeed easier than in the agricultural sector.

In recent years, methane emission reduction in the energy sector has received much attention. Some industry organizations and large energy companies in Europe and America have also established cooperation frameworks to promote global methane emission reduction. The United States and Europe have successively launched methane emission reduction strategies or action plans, and jointly signed the Global Methane Commitment with 103 countries during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. In this context, large energy and chemical enterprises have proposed methane emission reduction targets and adopted a series of methane emission reduction measures to shape a green corporate image. It is not difficult to establish emission reduction targets, but how to monitor and control methane emissions in actual production is another subject.

As a pioneer in methane emission reduction, the energy and chemical industry has developed some technologies. For example, in terms of methane emission monitoring, oil and gas companies that have done a better job include Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, etc. Shell uses UAVs, aircraft and satellites equipped with optical gas imaging cameras to detect methane leakage, TotalEnergies uses ground infrared cameras, UAVs and satellites to detect methane leakage, and BP adopts a hierarchical monitoring method to take the on-site continuous monitoring method with the highest accuracy for projects with high probability of methane leakage and large leakage. If the accuracy is appropriate, these technologies can also be applied in areas such as farmland and pastures.

In addition, another emission reduction experience in the energy and chemical industry is to establish industry alliances, formulate unified standards, promote industry emission reduction actions, and exchange the availability of technologies. For example, BP, Eni Group, TotalEnergies and other companies launched the Oil, Gas and Methane Partnership (OGMP) to conduct unified methane emission accounting according to the technical guidance documents provided by the organization, and promote emission reduction technologies. Shell and other international oil and gas companies, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, and academia have jointly launched the Methane Emission Reduction Guidelines (MGP) partnership and released a series of best practice guidelines for methane emission reduction. The author believes that these experiences may be slightly difficult for small-scale agricultural producers, but they can be fully referenced by large agricultural and livestock enterprises.

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