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‘Termination-level Transition’

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: DTE

The rapid increase of methane in Earth’s atmosphere since 2006, driven by biological emissions rather than fossil fuel burning, raises concerns about a potential major transition in Earth’s climate.


What is ‘Termination-level Transition’?

A ‘termination-level transition’ refers to a significant and rapid shift in Earth’s climate from one state to another, often marking the end of a glacial period and the onset of a warmer interglacial period.

For example, during past terminations, like Termination II around 131,000 years ago, Earth’s climate shifted from glaciers in certain regions to warmer conditions, leading to changes in ecosystems and weather patterns.


What are biological emissions?

Biological emissions refer to the release of gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere as a result of natural biological processes.

For example, in the context of methane, biological emissions can occur during processes like microbial digestion in the stomachs of ruminant animals (like cows) or the decomposition of organic matter in wetlands.


About Methane

It is a flammable hydrocarbon used as a global fuel source. However, it also serves as a potent greenhouse gas, with over 80 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide within the first two decades of its presence in the atmosphere. It has a shorter atmospheric lifespan than carbon dioxide. Its main sources include oil and natural gas operations, agricultural practices, coal mining, and waste management.


Initiatives to curb Methane Emission:

Indian Initiatives
‘Harit Dhara’ (HD)Anti-methanogenic feed supplement developed by ICAR to reduce cattle methane emissions by 17-20% and increase milk production
India Greenhouse Gas ProgramLed by WRI India, CII, and TERI, a voluntary framework to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions in industries.
National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)Launched in 2008, it raises awareness about climate change and outlines steps to address it among government, industries, communities, and more.
Bharat Stage-VI NormsThe transition from BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms in India aims to reduce vehicle emissions.
Global Initiatives
Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)Integrates satellite data to detect methane emission events worldwide and notifies stakeholders to take action.
Global Methane PledgeVoluntary pledges from nearly 100 countries, including the commitment to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.
Global Methane Initiative (GMI)An international partnership focused on removing barriers to using methane as a clean energy source.