Methane: The Climate Issue

There are often arguments over the validity of global warming. Many individuals stand strong in opposition to the possibility. This denial may be, in part, due to the desire to continue with businesses that bring in large amounts of revenue. Admitting the problem exists would mean major changes for many production factories and other businesses that impact the environment of our planet. It doesn’t take a scientist to confirm that weather patterns have changed over the years, with many seasons showing new temperature records and high incidences of large storms, such as hurricanes. There are many things that contribute to the changes.

Methane is a gas that is released into the atmosphere due to things like large livestock populations, leaks, and the use of landfills. Here is how it is acting as a catalyst to global warming.

What is It?

Methane is described as a greenhouse gas. It is naturally emitted when organic matter is decomposing. Methane is the main ingredient in the natural gas we use to heat and power our homes. One of its benefits is its strength and ability to capture energy. It is more effective than carbon dioxide (CO2) at accomplishing this goal. While this gas is naturally occurring, we are bringing it into the atmosphere faster than the environment can break it down. Methane burns in a much cleaner way than other gases. The problems are caused by the overabundance in the air.


In order to use natural gas in our homes, it must be routed from various locations to each individual house through a series of pipes. These manmade transport mechanisms are prone to failure as they age and as the earth settles. When the ground changes, pipes can be moved or cracked. This results in leaks that may be underground and difficult to recognize. Leaks in homes can also occur due to faulty pipes leading to appliances. The alarms in homes do not pick up on these leaks, because methane is gas in its natural form before it is burned. This often results in long-term leaks. Danger of asphyxiation is also a risk. Most residents recognize the smell, however, and call for repairs immediately.


Waste is a problem in many ways. Methane increase is just one of them. High population rates are adding to our trash productions. Methane is a natural part of decomposition. The methane from landfills, however, is so overwhelming that it can put nearby homes in danger. While recycling efforts for many items have put into place, the organic matter is also a problem. Think about how much waste you generate that consists of fruit and vegetable remnants. Composting on a large scale would have to commence in most neighborhoods to get this under control. Decomposition, however, still occurs in compost piles. This increasing release into the environment is affecting the climate. Some sort of control is needed.


Livestock is another issue when it comes to methane release. Cows are kept in much larger numbers due to the need for food and dairy. This meets the consumption demand, however, the gas released by these animals is significant. Cows, goats and sheep are referred to as ruminant animals. Their digestive systems process food in a way that produces more methane than humans and other animals. This, again, is a natural process. The issue for climate change revolves around the large numbers of livestock on farms today.


Rice is the main source of methane production from agricultural efforts. Rice is grown in a wetland environment, consisting of man-made areas. This increases the moisture and the decomposition process of organic material. It is estimated that rice production, alone, adds around 31 million tons of methane gas to the environment every year. This accounts for about nine percent of the total methane emissions.

Climate change is inevitable if some improvements are not made to limit methane release. Better methods of leak detection need to be implemented for natural gas lines. Food consumption is not easily controlled. As long as there is high demand for beef and rice, farms for these items is a reality. Population increase is adding to the issue, by mandating that food production must increase. Methane is a natural part of our environment, however, it is reaching dangerously high levels due to the excess creation and harvesting associated with it.

What Do You Think?

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