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Nations will exceed $200 million methane finance pledge at COP28

WASHINGTON, United States — A US challenge to raise at least $200 million to tackle global-warming methane gas emissions will be exceeded at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai that begin later this month, a senior State Department official said Friday.

Non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases contribute to more than half of the climate change the planet is currently undergoing, but receive far less attention.

In April, President Joe Biden invited other countries to join the United States in a "Methane Finance Sprint" with a goal of raising $200 million to assist developing countries, and the goal will be exceeded thanks to contributions from the US and other countries, the official said.

More than 150 nations have now signed up to the Global Methane Pledge, which was launched in 2021 and seeks to reduce global methane emissions at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030, in order to eliminate 0.2 degrees Celsius of warming by 2050.

China, the world's leading emitter, agreed for the first time to include all greenhouse gases in its next national climate pledge for 2035 in an agreement with the United States earlier this week.

China, the United States and the UAE as the host of COP28 will jointly hold a methane and non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases Summit at the talks, which will run from November 30 to December 12. 

The US official acknowledged many billions of dollars were required globally to invest in reducing methane releases that occur during the production of oil and natural gas, such as flaring, venting and leaking. 

Methane emissions also come from landfills, agricultural activities and industrial processes. 

Holding the planet to 1.5C of long-term warming is seen as essential by scientists to prevent the worst and potentially irreversible effects of climate change. The world is currently on track to warm by 2.3C by 2100.