Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas. In the first 20 years after release, methane is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat.
The three main sources of methane emissions are waste and landfill sites, fossil fuels and natural gas leaks, and agriculture.
While it is considered second to carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, curbing methane emissions is the fastest way to to slow global warming.
Methane or CH4, is a powerful greenhouse gas. It forms only 0.00017% of the atmosphere, but it is crucial in keeping the earth warm and habitable. Excess methane, however, is one of the most dangerous causes of global warming. In the first 20 years after release, methane is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat. In fact, it has been responsible for 40% of global warming, since the Industrial Revolution.
What are the main sources of methane emissions?
More than half of the global methane emissions stem from human activities in three sectors: agriculture (40%), fossil fuels (35% of human-caused emissions) and waste and landfills (20%).
In the third place are the landfills. Piles of garbage produce methane when they rot. Then, heatwaves, cigarette butts and other fire sources lead to the infamous landfill fires.
Methane-monitoring satellites that zoom in on sources of the climate-warming gas show that landfills contributed to more than 25 percent of methane emissions in Mumbai and six percent in Delhi. In Pune, isotopic studies, which rely on methane’s atomic makeup, point to significant landfill emissions of methane and a potential natural gas leak.
In the second place are leakages from oil and gas companies and other industrial operations. Burning natural gas produces much less carbon dioxide, than burning oil or coal. Along the way to the burner however, some natural gas escapes gas, which is mainly methane.
And the biggest methane emitter is the agriculture sector. Rice cultivation, enteric fermentation in cattle and crop residue burning are some of the sources of methane emission in agriculture.
When we talk about agricultural methane emissions, it’s primarily from rice cultivation. As you know, in rice cultivation, there is a lot of standing water that’s left after you inundate the crop. That’s the traditional way of growing rice. What happens when you do that is there is something called anaerobic respiration. You let water stay for a long time and the oxygen levels get depleted. And then there is methane and nitrous oxide emissions that emanate as a result of that.
How does methane impact human health?
Increased methane emissions are responsible for half of the observed rise in tropospheric ozone or ground-level ozone, a harmful air pollutant. It creates smog, thereby worsening bronchitis, triggering asthma and permanently damaging lung tissue. Exposure to ground-level ozone has resulted in an estimated one million premature deaths each year.
India is one of the top five emitters of methane. It also has dangerously high levels of tropospheric ozone.
What are the solutions to curb methane emissions?
In November 2021, nearly 100 countries signed the Global Methane Pledge at the climate conference COP26. They made a promise to curb methane emissions by 2030. India, however, did not sign the pledge.
When you talk about agriculture in India, it’s a climate-sensitive sector. Secondly, much of the population that is dependent on agriculture are small and marginal farmers, and almost 51% of Indian agriculture is rain-fed agriculture. We could probably call it survival emissions because people are producing food for subsistence.
She argues that it would not really be fair to burden a farmer who is fighting for subsistence, to commit to methane mitigation targets.
However, India’s scientists and policymakers are trying different ways to reduce methane emissions. From new varieties of rice that require less water, to better quality cattle feed that can reduce methane emissions from cows, and other technological developments for managing landfills and methane leaks in industries, to even coming up with an accurate measurement for methane emissions, there are regular experiments and improvements. But the process has been slow and expensive.
Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.
The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.
Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.
These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.
Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.
Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.
Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.
Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.