Methane reduction potential in the EU. Between 2020 and 2030

Methane emissions reduction has a crucial role to play in climate mitigation action between now and 2040, as put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Methane Assessment by UNEP and CCAC. While the Global Methane Pledge calls for a 30% methane reduction worldwide between 2020 and 2030, according to science a 45% reduction is needed. In this study for the Changing Markets Foundation, CE Delft has investigated what mitigation measures and policy efforts are needed in order to realise 30% and 45% methane reduction in the European Union. We have estimated the reduction potential of measures in livestock agriculture, the energy sector and the waste sector by means of a literature study, complemented by our own calculations.

Our results show that the EU methane reduction targets between 2020 and 2030 cannot be realised without implementing policies that drive the uptake of behavioural and technical measures in the livestock agriculture sector. The adoption of healthier consumer diets alone could reduce EU methane emissions by 15% to 19%, if new policy initiatives could influence all EU citizens to switch to a diet with lower meat and dairy consumption based on national dietary health guidelines. This makes it clear that the livestock agriculture sector has an important role to play in the reduction of EU methane emissions. At the same time, EU policy initiatives on methane reduction are still the least advanced and least concrete in the livestock agriculture sector. It is therefore recommended that EU policymakers increase their efforts to implement policies that will result in dietary changes in line with lower production and consumption levels of meat and dairy and the adoption of technical measures by livestock farmers, prioritising proven measures that have an increased potential to reduce emissions.