ENVIRONMENT

Coal mine methane emissions contributing to climate change: report

METHANE emissions spiked last year with much of the damage caused by coal mining and other fossil fuel operations venting unwanted gas and failing to properly seal equipment, according to a United Nations report.

Lou Caruana
 Methane has 84 times more global heating potential in a 20-year timeframe than carbon dioxide.

Methane has 84 times more global heating potential in a 20-year timeframe than carbon dioxide.

The Global Methane Assessment found reducing methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to reduce global heating, stating that "the fossil fuel sector has the greatest potential for targeted mitigation by 2030".

Fugitive methane emissions from coal mining operations can also continue after the mine ceases to operate. 

Data reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change show that the share of abandoned mine methane in total methane emissions from coal mining in the latest available year was 2% in Australia.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific head of research and investigations Dr Nikola Casule said methane has 84 times more global heating potential in a 20-year timeframe than carbon dioxide.

"Adding more gas to the climate at this crucial point for the world to reduce emissions to avoid devastating climate impacts is madness. This report reveals the federal government's gas plan for what it is - a dangerous distraction at a time when Australia should be accelerating the shift to renewable energy," she said.

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