Global Methane Assessment: 2030 Baseline Report

Global Methane Assessment: 2030 Baseline Report

22 Nov 2023

This report is a product of the Global Methane Assessment (GMA) by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition that details projections of anthropogenic methane emissions through 2030 under various baseline scenarios and assesses the climate benefits of achieving the Global Methane Pledge target compared to the impacts of those baseline emissions. 

In 2021, the CCAC and UNEP published the Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions (UNEP, CCAC 2021), which identified methane mitigation as one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute substantially to global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. One of the key conclusions of the GMA was that currently available technological measures and policies could reduce emissions from the three main anthropogenic methane emitting sectors by as much as 45 per cent of baseline emissions levels by 2030 (approximately 180 Mt per year in 2030).

Baseline emissions scenarios assume implementation of existing policies and commitments but do not include additional mitigation action. Furthermore, such a reduction would be consistent with the range of methane mitigation called for in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) least-cost pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C in this century so long as it occurs alongside simultaneous reductions of other major climate forcers including carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants.

Catalyzed by the conclusions of the 2021 Global Methane Assessment, the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) was launched at the Nov 2021 Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Participants joining the Pledge agree to take voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global anthropogenic methane emissions by at least 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030 (GMP 2022).

In 2022, GMP Partners requested that UNEP perform further analysis of baseline emissions scenarios to establish a harmonized estimate of the expected growth in methane emissions through 2030 absent additional action, as well as to compare the impacts of the GMP with those baseline emissions. The objectives of this report include a more complete characterization of future baseline emissions, as well as an easing comparison of GMA conclusions, which are communicated against approximate baseline emission levels in 2030, against the GMP target, which is set against 2020 emissions levels. This analysis also allows us to highlight the
importance of early and targeted methane mitigation by assessing the climate benefits of the GMP target against expected increasing methane emissions under the baseline emissions scenarios, and comparing them to the impact of addressing methane solely through a decarbonization strategy.