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Bending the curve on climate change: Jonathan Banks talks methane pollution prevention at Chile’s 2024 Congreso Futuro  

January 31, 2024 Work Area: Methane

Recently, CATF’s Jonathan Banks had the honor of speaking at Congreso Futuro (Future Congress) 2024, an annual event hosted in Santiago, Chile, where experts from diverse fields and around the world engage with the public on the pressing challenges confronting our society. Speaking about climate, Banks delivered a hopeful message, emphasizing the tangible and rapid benefits for the planet we can achieve by mitigating methane pollution. 

Banks opened his presentation by acknowledging the scale of the climate problem, our failure to change its trajectory to date, and the worsening impact it has on society and the planet.  

He also highlighted an important psychological challenge: many of the current actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will not generate obvious climate benefits for the present generation. 

However, Banks stressed the importance of not losing hope, noting that we can significantly reduce warming in our lifetime by rapidly reducing methane pollution with technologies available today.  

Of the world’s cumulative methane emissions, he identified that: 

  • 36% originated from the Energy sector, largely from oil, gas, and coal operations; 
  • 32% came from animals raised for meat and dairy; 
  • 19% resulted from waste, such as landfills and sewage; and 
  • 8% came from rice cultivation. 

Banks emphasized that solutions for mitigating methane pollution from these sources are either readily available or in development, and that action from governments and the private sector would be needed to implement them.  

He also lauded Chile’s work to mitigate emissions from the waste sector, stating that replicating Chile’s efforts has, “become the goal of the international community.”  

Banks concluded his speech by highlighting important milestones for global efforts to mitigate methane methane — including the Global Methane Pledge — and by urging policymakers and industry to redouble their efforts: 

“Unless these things are implemented,” said Banks, “we’re not going to see the kind of progress that’s necessary, and we will fail to take advantage of the opportunity that methane presents us, and that’s to finally start to bend that curve on climate change.”  

Watch Banks’ full remarks here:

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