Search
Close this search box.

Methane Observatory launched to boost action on powerful climate-warming gas

methane

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with support from the European Union, has launched a new Observatory to drive action on reducing methane emissions – a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for at least a quarter of the current climate warming. The International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) was launched at the G20 Summit, on the eve of COP26 in Glasgow.

IMEO will improve the reporting accuracy and public transparency of human-caused methane emissions. IMEO will initially focus on methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector, and then expand to other major emitting sectors like agriculture and waste.

The recently published UNEP-CCAC Global Methane Assessment states that zero or low net-cost reductions could almost halve anthropogenic methane emissions and proven measures could shave 0.28 degrees Celsius from the forecasted rise in the planet’s average temperature by 2050.

IMEO will provide the means to prioritize actions and monitor commitments made by state actors in the Global Methane Pledge – a US- and EU-led effort by over thirty countries to slash methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

“Methane is one of the most dangerous gases for our climate,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said. “We urgently need to reduce methane emissions to keep our climate targets in reach. Better satellite monitoring is essential, and the EU is proud to support the creation of the International Methane Emissions Observatory.”

Methane: over 80 times more potent than CO2

To stay on track to reach the Paris Agreement goal of limiting climate change to 1.5°C, the world needs to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that if the world is to achieve the 1.5°C temperature target, deep methane emissions reductions must be achieved over this time.

“As highlighted by IPCC, if the world is serious about avoiding the worst effects of climate change, we need to cut methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry,” Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, added. “But this is not a get-out-of-jail free card: methane reductions must go hand in hand with actions to decarbonize the energy system to limit warming to 1.5°C, as called for in the Paris Agreement,”

Methane released directly into the atmosphere is more than 80 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time horizon. However, as methane’s atmospheric lifespan is relatively short – 10 to 12 years – actions to cut methane emissions can yield the most immediate reduction in the rate of warming, while also delivering air quality benefits.

EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson added that methane has accounted for roughly 30 per cent of global warming since pre-industrial times, and today its emissions are increasing faster than at any other time since record keeping began in the 1980s. “Existing systems do not allow us to determine precisely enough where emissions happen across the globe and in what volumes,” she continued. “Once better data is available, countries can take swift and well-targeted action. In the EU, we will already propose pioneering legislation to cut methane emissions this year. This includes mandatory leak detection and repair and limiting venting and flaring.”

The fossil fuel industry is responsible for one-third of anthropogenic emissions and is the sector with the highest potential for reductions. The wasted methane, the main component in natural gas, is a valuable source of energy that could be used to fuel power plants or homes.

IMEO: an independent and trusted entity

The Observatory will produce a global public dataset of empirically verified methane emissions – starting with the fossil fuel sector – at an increasing level of granularity and accuracy by integrating data principally from four streams: reporting from the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP 2.0), direct measurement data from scientific studies, remote sensing data, and national inventories. This will allow IMEO to engage companies and governments around the world to utilize this data to target strategic mitigation actions and support science-based policy options.

Critical to this effort are data collected through OGMP 2.0, launched in November 2020 in the framework of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. OGMP 2.0 is the only comprehensive, measurement-based reporting framework for the oil and gas sector, and its 74 member companies represent many of the world’s largest operators across the entire value chain, with assets that account for over 30 per cent of all oil and gas production.

IMEO: First Annual Report

In a report released to coincide with the launch, IMEO laid out its Theory of Change, at the heart of which is the need for an independent and trusted entity to integrate these multiple sources of heterogenous data into a coherent and policy-relevant dataset. The report also includes the analysis of the first reports submitted by the company members of the OGMP 2.0. During this first year, most companies put significant effort into reporting and outlined ambitious 2025 reduction targets. Out of the 55 companies that set targets, 30 meet or exceed the recommended targets of 45% reduction or near-zero methane intensity, and 51 have submitted plans that provide confidence the accuracy of their data will improve in the next 3-5 years.

Read more of our news here!

CTS The industrialisation of IT
CTS - Industrialisation of IT
Related Posts
CTS The industrialisation of IT
Others have also viewed

UK businesses see boosting connectivity as integral to growth

Study reveals a great opportunity for alternative network providers (AltNets) to meet growing demand for ...
centre

Germany Energy Efficiency Act demonstrates importance of data centre supply chain collaboration

Following the signing into law of Germany’s Energy Efficiency Act (EnEfG), energy solutions specialist Aggreko ...

Systemair look to Infor’s cloud solution to deliver more sustainable products

Systemair is moving its core business system to Infor CloudSuite Manufacturing, aiming at smoother integration ...
Data Centre

Vertiv collaborates with Intel on liquid cooled solution

Vertiv is collaborating with Intel to provide a liquid cooling solution that will support the ...