I suspect that we are more aware of methane in our lives than the two main climate change gases, water vapour and carbon dioxide.

It's all around us, in the fire damp in coal mines that gave early employment to canaries, in the flames that flare it off at the Sugden End household waste site near Haworth and the vents alongside the Drighlington bypass. Occasionally local houses have exploded. But it's mainly in most of our kitchens.

We depend on it for almost everything, as it fires our central heating, makes our tea and produces much of our electricity - it's natural gas, once from the North Sea and now from Russia or North Africa.

Each year we burn gas that took over a million years to form from decaying vegetation. We also produce it ourselves as flatulence, as do animals such as cows, though in their case it's mainly burps. They produce up to 600 litres a day, and so contribute almost 20 per cent of the methane entering the atmosphere. The growing numbers of cattle worldwide are a real concern as fast food' methane is on the increase and there aren't enough vegetarians to reverse the trend.

World population growth doesn't help either, with another billion people every 15 years, so rice growing increases and the paddyfields bubble out another 20 per cent.

One area of limited success is the reduction of methane from landfill sites, made from our newspapers, tea bags, potato peelings, dead flowers and disposable nappies, as we recycle more and consider other ways to get rid of our rubbish. We could soon see a big waste digesting system in Bradford powered by its own methane with the surplus generating electricity.

The doubling of methane in the air in the past two centuries is one of the reasons for the increased rate of global warming - it is 23 times more effective than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately this will continue with the large increase in methane emissions from the frozen ground of northern Canada and Siberia where the permafrost has begun to melt and the gas bubbles to the surface. Even worse will happen if the millions of tonnes of methane trapped in the shallow sediments in the coastal seas are liberated as the water warms, and it has happened before.

Additionally there is not much we can do to prevent the leaking of the gas from our cookers and fires as we switch them on, or pipeline leaks - it is estimated that 3 per cent escapes unburned into the atmosphere.

However there is one very simple way to stop some methane being produced and that is by making sure that our kitchen and garden green waste ends up in a compost heap near the backdoor and not in landfill.

We won't all become vegetarians or shun rice puddings so we should insist that the Council makes its new waste scheme as methane free as possible. It's a relevant question for the May council elections.