At the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Australia has ignored the call of experts, and refused to join an international pledge to reduce methane emissions.

Methane is the second biggest contributor to global warming behind carbon dioxide, and is one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

The European Union and US announced that they have teamed up with more than 100 other countries in a bid to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

“I think we could probably go beyond that,” Mr Biden said during his address at the UN conference in Glasgow.

“We just announced this package at the [UN] General Assembly back in September, at the time [it] was mentioned just nine countries had signed on.”

“Today, it’s approaching a hundred countries that are signing on,” he said.

Australia was one of the few countries who refused to join the initiative.

Other countries ignoring the call are China, Russia, India and Iran: some of the biggest methane emitters  in the world.

The US and EU believe that reducing methane emissions will be a powerful tool in the fight to tackle climate change, and the end goal of ensuring the world does not warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Methane is one of the gases we can cut fastest, doing that will immediately slow down climate change,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Australia’s Energy Minister Angus Taylor, who has a degree in economics rather than science, defended the Australian government’s decision to not join the movement.

“Our focus is whole of economy, all gases,” Mr Taylor said at the COP26 conference. “We’ve got a net-zero goal, we’re not setting sector specific targets, and we aren’t setting gas specific targets.

“It’s the entirety of gases that matters … that’s our specific goal.”

Former Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull said the government no joining the initiative was “a pity”, and described Australia’s position at COP26 as “disappointing”.

“We can’t keep on pretending that this a problem [climate change] we can push out to the future, this is happening right now,” he said in Glasgow.

“We are living with the reality of global warming now, we need to stop burning coal and gas and [we have] got to reduce methane emissions.”

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.