Methane emissions from the Munich Oktoberfest

Climate change is a global problem that is having a profound impact on living conditions and human societies. The present global warming is very likely due to strong anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The EU aims to cut its GHG emissions by 40 % by 2030 and by 80 % to 100 % by 2050, compared to the 1990 level. The German climate action plan (Klimaschutzplan 2050) contains similar goals, i.e., to cut at least 55 % of German GHG emissions by 2030 and at least 80 % to 95 % by 2050.

Methane (CH4) is the second-most prevalent GHG emitted by human activities. CH4 has been responsible for around 20 % of the global warming by anthropogenic greenhouse gases since 1750. Current atmospheric CH4 concentrations are 2.5 times as high as the preindustrial levels, and since the industrial revolution relative concentration growth of CH4 has been 3 times faster than that of CO2. Large folk festivals are also likely sources of anthropogenic emissions of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), CO, particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), etc. Oktoberfest, the world's largest folk festival with over 6 million visitors annually, is held in Munich. In 2018, during the 16 d of Oktoberfest, approximately 8 million L of beer was consumed. For cleaning, dish washing, toilet flushing, etc., 107 million L of water was needed. The use of energy added up to 2.9 million kWh of electricity and 200 937 m3 of natural gas, 79 % of which is used for cooking and 21 % for heating.

The results of the research conducted by Jia Chen et. al., can help to develop CH4 reduction policies and measures to reduce emissions at festivals and other major events in cities. Furthermore, events with a limited duration have not yet been included in the state-of-the-art emission inventories, such as TNO-MACC, EDGAR or IER. Our investigations show that these emissions are not negligible. Therefore, these events should be included in future emission inventories.

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