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Tracking System For Methane Emissions

Context

  • The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) was launched at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
  • MARS is a new satellite-based system that will now assist governments in detecting and addressing methane emissions.
  • As part of global efforts to slow climate change by addressing methane, the UN announced a new satellite-based system to detect methane emissions and allow governments and businesses to respond.

Relevance

GS 1: Geography, climate change

GS 3: Environment protection

Mains Question

Do you believe that goals such as net zero emissions and afforestation can help to mitigate the negative effects of climate change? (150 Words)


MARS (Methane Alert and Response System)

  • MARS (Methane Alert and Response System) is a data-to-action system. It was established as part of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data into the hands of those who can use it to reduce emissions.
    • The system will be the first globally available publicly available system to link methane detection to notification processes.
      • It will identify significant emission events, notify relevant stakeholders, and support and track mitigation progress using cutting-edge satellite data.
  • MARS was created as part of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway, with funding from the European Commission, the US Government, and other stakeholders.
    • The Global Methane Pledge (GMP) Energy Pathway was launched in June 2022 with the goal of catalysing methane emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector, thus advancing both climate progress and energy security.
    • The GMP Energy Pathway encourages all nations to: capture the maximum potential for cost-effective methane mitigation in the oil and gas sector; and eliminate routine flaring as soon as possible, but no later than 2030.
    • MARS will be implemented in collaboration with partners such as the International Energy Agency and the UNEP-sponsored Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

MARS’s Operation

  • Starting with very large point sources from the energy sector, MARS will integrate data from a rapidly expanding network of methane-detecting satellites to include lower-emitting area sources and more frequent detection.
    • Data on coal, waste, livestock, and rice will be gradually added to MARS to aid in the implementation of the Global Methane Pledge.
  • MARS will use global mapping satellite data to identify very large methane plumes and methane hot spots, as well as high-resolution satellite data to attribute the emissions to a specific source.
  • Following that, UNEP will notify governments and companies about the emissions, either directly or through partners, so that the responsible entity can take appropriate action.
  • MARS partners will provide technical or advisory services, such as assistance in assessing mitigation opportunities, if requested.
  • UNEP will continue to monitor the event site and make data and analysis available to the public 45 to 75 days after discovery.

MARS Is Required

  • Methane is a significant greenhouse gas.
    • Methane is the second-most common of the six major greenhouse gases, but its potential to cause global warming is far greater than that of carbon dioxide.
    • Methane, which accounts for about 17% of current global greenhouse gas emissions, is blamed for causing at least 25% to 30% of temperature rise since pre-industrial times. • Reducing methane emissions yields significant benefits in a short period of time.
    • Unlike carbon dioxide, methane is primarily a sectoral gas with few sources of emission.
    • It is thus possible to reduce methane emissions without negatively impacting the economy.
    • Because methane has about 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, reducing methane emissions provides significant benefits in a short period of time.
  • Suggestions from various reports and organisations
    • According to the UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, which was released prior to the current climate summit, the world is far off track in terms of efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
    • Reducing methane emissions can have a large and immediate impact because this gas leaves the atmosphere much faster than carbon dioxide.
    • According to the IPCC, we must reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 in order to stay within the 1.5°C temperature limit.
    • The Global Methane Pledge aims to cut global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
  • At the Glasgow climate conference in 2021 (COP 26), nearly 100 countries made a voluntary pledge to reduce methane emissions, which is now known as the Global Methane Pledge. Since then, more countries have joined the initiative, bringing the total to nearly 130.

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December 2022
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