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Abstract Title: Global Methane Emissions and Mercury
Presenter Name: peter maxson
Company/Institution: concorde east/west srl
Session: Energy/ Fossil Fuels
Day and Session: Thursday 28th July - Session Three
Start Time: 12:00 UTC
Co-Authors: peter maxson

Abstract Information :

Methane emissions and their significant impact on global warming have recently received renewed attention due to a comprehensive overview published by the IPCC in 2021, among other key research. Methane emission sources are many and varied, including natural sources (less than half of the total global emissions) such as emissions from wetlands, and anthropogenic sources (more than half of the total) such as emissions from gas leaks. Anthropogenic emissions are dominated by the agricultural sector, as well as fossil fuel extraction and use. According to the IPPC report, 42% of anthropogenic methane emissions come from agriculture. Intentional and unintentional leaks of methane from fossil fuel drilling sites, coal mines and pipelines produce 36% of the total, and waste dumps generate another 18%.

Meanwhile research and practical experience has confirmed that mercury is present in virtually all fossil fuels, that it is often removed from these fuels for commercial reasons, and that the management of the resulting wastes is sometimes problematic.

While this author has previously put some rough estimates to the quantities of various mercury wastes generated by the gas industry, the recent IPCC report and other research focused on methane now provide an ideal opportunity to estimate the quantities of mercury mobilized from the whole range of anthropogenic methane emissions from fossil fuels - coal mines, oil and gas extraction and use including emissions from orphan wells, etc. - and the pathways of that mercury to the environment or secure sequestration.

This information will feed into and help to improve Global Mercury Assessment and other models of atmospheric mercury transport, as well as to further reinforce the global need to rapidly and significantly reduce methane emissions in the fossil fuel industry.

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