imgMethaneIcon Methane & Other Gases

Decrease or increase greenhouse gas emissions from methane, nitrous oxide, and the f-gases. Methane is released from sources like cows, agriculture, natural gas drilling, and waste. Nitrous oxide comes from fertilizers. The f-gases, includes HFCs, PFCs, and others that are used in industry and consumer goods like air conditioners.


  • Decreased meat consumption.
  • Modified agricultural practices such as increasing digestion of manure and decreasing fertilizer use.
  • Decreased leakage from oil and gas industries.
  • Increased capturing of gases emitted from landfills.
  • Research and development on substitutions for f-gases (e.g. SF6 and HFC) in industrial processes.

Big Message

  • Reducing methane, nitrous oxide, and the f-gases is high leverage, although many approaches to reducing these emissions need more research and support to scale up.

Key Dynamics

  • Watch temperature increase fall as emissions of methane, N2O, and F-gases fall. They comprise 30% of current greenhouse gas emissions and are very important in addressing climate change.

Potential Co-Benefits of Decreasing Methane & Other Gases

  • Plant-based diets have been shown to be healthier for individuals and have less impact on ecosystems.
  • Sustainable and plant-based agriculture produces more food with fewer resources, which increases food security.
  • Reduced leakage from natural gas systems can save money.
  • Less nitrogen-rich fertilizer run off can reduce water pollution, decrease eutrophication, and increase marine health.

Equity Considerations

  • Many cultural values are attached to certain foods, meaning change to more plant-based diets could require a large societal shift.
  • Policies implemented without care may threaten food security for certain individuals and communities. For example, rice paddies, a large methane contributor, are a main dietary staple for many countries.
  • Local economies and employment can be threatened in communities which currently rely on industrial, large-scale farming practices as their main livelihood.

Slider Settings

highly reduced moderately reduced status quo
Percent reduction or increase of maximum action -100% to -50% -50% to 0% 0% to +10%

Model Structure

The model limits how much these emissions can be reduced, since some are considered unavoidable, particularly those from agriculture, landfills, and wastewater.