Methane : its role in climate change and options for control

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


This study on CH4, (its role in climate change and options for control), aimed at a scenario analysis to assess future climate change under reduced methane emissions. At the same time improving the quality of CH4 emission inventories and estimating the costs of emission reductions between 2010 and 2100. In this thesis 28 major options to control or mitigate methane emissions from different sources were identified. The effectiveness and costs of these options were assessed. This resulted in a database of different options and costs for all the different sources of methane. This database was subsequently used to update the methane module of the Integrated Model to Assess the Greenhouse Effect and expand it with a simple costing module. The IMAGE model was further improved by this work by Van Amstel on methane reduction strategies.

The thesis concluded that significant reductions in global methane emissions are both technologically feasible and, in many cases, very cost effective strategies for climate change mitigation. Their wider implementation in coming years and decades will largely depend on the policy and market signals delivered by the UNFCCC conferences of the Parties, but failing to make full use of the potential for methane mitigation globally will inevitably make effective mitigation of climate change through reduction of carbon dioxide emissions alone all the more difficult. The scientific community can provide improved methane flux estimates, reduce uncertainties and enhance our understanding of key climate change feedback mechanisms, such as methane emissions from high latitude wetlands and from clathrate deposits. The technology to deliver deep cuts in methane emissions from a host of important sectors is already available. To put methane mitigation at the heart of a robust and well-integrated framework for tackling global climate change, improved national and international policy is required to facilitate rapid technology transfer and provide financial incentives that will ensure that the myriad potential opportunities for the effective mitigation of methane emissions around the world are made real. It is therefore recommended to remove market barriers and to increase attention for methane abatement options through international cooperation and learning from proven technology. One possible route to overcome market failure in methane reduction is international cooperation between front runners and countries willing to learn. Public-private partnerships can be used to stimulate this international cooperation for example in the International Methane Initiative.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Leemans, Rik, Promotor
  • Kroeze, Carolien, Co-promotor
Award date30 May 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789461732385
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • methane
  • climatic change
  • emission
  • estimation
  • greenhouse gases
  • control

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