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IEA Annual Methane Global Tracker Report


According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual Methane Global Tracker report, fossil fuel companies emitted 120 million metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere in 2022, only slightly below the record highs seen in 2019.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are the findings of the report?
  2. Methane emissions and climate change
  3. About the International Energy Agency (IEA)

What are the findings of the report?

  • A report has revealed that 75% of methane emissions from the energy sector can be reduced with cheap and readily available technology.
  • Implementing these measures would cost less than 3% of the net income received by the oil and gas industry in 2022.
  • Energy giants such as Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil reported record profits in 2021, despite the issue of methane emissions.
  • The energy sector accounts for around 40% of the total average methane emissions from human activity.
  • Methane is released into the atmosphere during the drilling, extraction, and transportation process, as well as when natural gas is flared or vented.
  • More than 260 billion cubic metres of natural gas (mostly composed of methane) is wasted through flaring and methane leaks globally each year.
  • The report highlights that 80% of the available options to curb methane release could be implemented by the fossil fuel industry at net-zero cost.
  • Ultimately, reducing 75% of the wastage of natural gas could lower global temperature rise by nearly 0.1 degree Celsius by mid-century, having the same impact as immediately stopping greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles worldwide.

Methane emissions and climate change

  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
  • It is responsible for 30% of the warming since preindustrial times, second only to carbon dioxide.
  • According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme, over a 20-year period, methane is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.
  • The amount of methane in the atmosphere has been increasing in recent years, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that atmospheric levels of methane jumped 17 parts per billion in 2021, surpassing the previous record set in 2020.
  • While carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for much longer than methane, methane is roughly 25 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere, and has an important short-term influence on the rate of climate change.

About the International Energy Agency (IEA)

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous Intergovernmental Organisation established in 1974 in Paris, France.
  • IEA mainly focuses on its energy policies which include economic development, energy security and environmental protection. These policies are also known as the 3 E’s of IEA.
  • It is best known for the publication of its annual World Energy Outlook.
IEA’s Role and Functions:
  • IEA’s role has expanded to cover the entire global energy system, encompassing traditional energy sources such as oil, gas, and coal as well as cleaner and faster growing ones such as solar PV, wind power and biofuels.
  • IEA acts as a policy adviser to its member states, as well as major emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa to support energy security and advance the clean energy transition worldwide.
  • IEA’s mandate has broadened to focus on providing analysis, data, policy recommendations and solutions to help countries ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all. In particular, it has focused on supporting global efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition and mitigate climate change.
  • The IEA has a broad role in promoting rational energy policies and multinational energy technology co-operation with a view to reaching net zero emissions.
  • IEA Clean Coal Centre is dedicated to providing independent information and analysis on how coal can become a cleaner source of energy, compatible with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Membership of IEA
  • The IEA is made up of 30 member countries. Only OECD member states can become members of the IEA.
  • IEA member countries are required to maintain total oil stock levels equivalent to at least 90 days of the previous year’s net imports.
  • In 2018, Mexico joined the IEA and became its 30th member.
  • India became an Associate member of IEA (NOT full membership) in 2017 but it was in engagement with IEA long before its association with the organization.
  • Other Association Countries of IEA apart from India are: Brazil, China, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.

-Source: Indian Express

November 2023