The Green New Deal cites the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC in the first paragraph establishing the issues and effects of the current, and likely future, of global warming. Inside the Green New Deal, there is no mention of methane's contribution to global warming at all. However, inside the Special Report, there are several locations where methane is mentioned as a significant factor in global warming.

  1. In section C.1.2. on page 12 in the full hard copy pdf, it mentions that the modeled pathways that limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C involve deep reductions in emissions of methane (35% or more by 2050 relative to 2010.

  2. In section TS.2 on page 33, the change of methane emissions strongly influences the changes of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, and reducing methane can offset the weakening of aerosol cooling.

  3. In section TS.4 on page 42, reducing short-lived climate forcers like methane can in the short term contribute significantly to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. These reductions would also have substantial co-benefits like improved health due to less air pollution.

There are 122 mentions of methane throughout the report and its importance as a short term reducer of warmth. The report, on page 147 also mentions that improved agricultural management is a viable solution to methane reduction. All of these references to methane mean that the scientists who studied global warming were convinced that it was a real issue amidst global warming.

In addition to agriculture, the United States in particular has another likely methane producting issue. This issue is fracking. Fracking has had a strong correlation to the increase of methane in the United States. However, fracking is not mentioned once in the Green New Deal. All of these data points has lead me to ask...


Given the effect of methane cited in the Special Report, and strong correlation of fracking toward the increase in methane, why doesn't the Green New Deal mention fracking or methane at all?

  • Re "...[methane's] importance as a short term reducer of warmth.": That sounds quite counter-factual. It looks as though "reducer" here might be a typo for absorber. Please clarify.
    – agc
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


Because the “Green New Deal” is not a comprehensive energy policy, but a resolution to state the intent to create a policy (or policies) sometime in the future

The explanation is right in the first sentence of the resolution you linked (emphasis added):

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.

The thing you called “the Green New Deal” isn’t actually the Green New Deal, it’s a statement that the government should create a Green New Deal sometime in the future, along with a very broad description of what that should look like.

Vulgar details like whether or not fracking creates methane and how bad that is are all sort of covered under that whole bit about “eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible”. There’s no need to explicitly call out methane, or really any specific greenhouse gas or human activity, as requiring special attention. Doing it would kind of implicitly limit the scope on what is supposed to be a “10 year national mobilization”, e.g. something that should solve every problem.

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