If methane leaks into the air before being used, it absorbs the sun's heat, warming the atmosphere. For this reason, it's considered a greenhouse gas, like carbon dioxide. While methane doesn't linger as long in the atmosphere as CO2, it is initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat in the first two decades after its release - methane is 84 times more potent than CO2. About 25% of the manmade global warming we're experiencing is caused by methane emissions.
Methane can come from many sources, both natural and manmade. Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere and it is relatively simple to capture the gas from animal waste, landfills, coal mines or leaky natural gas pipes. Scientists believe it is crucial to reduce emissions of methane now because of its potentially critical impact on the climate in the next 10 to 20 years.
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