Is It Enough to Just Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

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Is It Enough to Just Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

The 2021 United Nations Climate Conference, COP 26, took place in Glasgow in October 2021. 151 countries presented their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) at the conference, which is a roadmap to reduce their emissions by 2030. However, according to the United Nations, in spite of these climate change plans, however, the United Nations predict that global temperatures will increase by 2.5 degrees °C until 2030. Although the 2.5 °C increase in temperature is less than the 4 °C increase that was thought to occur before the Paris Agreement, it remains above the 1.5 °C increase targeted by the agreement.[1] Therefore, one of the most important results from Glasgow was that the roadmaps drawn in order to reach the desired targets by 2030 should be revised and strengthened.


Although all greenhouse gases have been considered when it comes to combating global warming, carbon dioxide emissions have been the focus of the projects. Emission reduction of other gases such as methane, which remains in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time yet has a greater effect on global warming than carbon dioxide, is an issue that needs to be considered. Accordingly, the Glasgow Climate Agreement invited stakeholders to take further action to reduce other greenhouse gases, including methane with its 37th article.[2]


In order to reduce methane emissions on a global scale, the Global Methane Initiative which is led by the USA and the European Union was launched in the first week of COP26. The goal of this initiative is to reduce methane emissions by 30% from 2020 to 2030. More than 100 countries, covering 70% of the global economy, have pledged to reduce methane emissions.[3]


Canada is among the countries mentioned above. Buildings are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, after the oil and gas, and transportation industries, according to 2019 data. 85% of greenhouse gas emissions originate from residential areas are due to space and water heating. In order to prevent this emission source, the use of fossil-based heating systems in new constructions in Vancouver and Quebec is prohibited.[4] Similar decisions can be seen in other countries around the world with the transition to electricity-sourced heating.