Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources. Human-influenced sources include landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial process.

Methane is also a primary constituent of natural gas and an important energy source. As a result, efforts to prevent or utilize methane emissions can provide significant energy, economic and environmental benefits. In the United States, many companies are working with EPA in voluntary efforts to reduce emissions by implementing cost-effective management methods and technologies.

Methane is one of several non-CO2 gases that contribute to global climate change. To learn more about these gases and what EPA is doing to reduce their impact, visit our Non-CO2 Gases page.

The following links provide more information on methane and EPA's related activities:

Methane to Markets Partnership Meeting Exit disclaimer, November 15-17, 2004, Washington, DC. The first ministerial meeting of this new international initiative will be structured to facilitate discussions among Partner countries and initiate a public-private dialogue with interested stakeholders. The first day of the meeting will focus on technical issues related to methane capture and use opportunities in each of the targeted sectors. On the second day, Ministers will participate in a signing ceremony and in panel discussions. The third day of the event will be devoted to breakout sessions of the Steering Committee and subcommittees.