UNEP’s International Methane Emissions Observatory launched the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) at COP27, a new initiative to accelerate implementation of the Global Methane Pledge by transparently scaling up global efforts to detect and act on major methane emissions sources.
About Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)
- MARS will start with a focus on very large point sources from the energy sector. In implementing MARS, IMEO will collaborate with a range of institutional partners, including the International Energy Agency and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
- In addition, member companies of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 will actively collaborate with MARS in this initial phase.
- Initial financial support for MARS is provided by the European Commission, the U.S. Government, the Global Methane Hub, and the Bezos Earth Fund.
- The Methane Alert and Response System, or MARS, will integrate data from a large number of existing and future satellites that have the ability to detect methane emission events anywhere in the world, and send out notifications to the relevant stakeholders to act on it.
- At the Glasgow climate conference last year, nearly 100 countries had come together in a voluntary pledge — now referred to as the Global Methane Pledge — to cut methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 from the 2020 levels.
- More countries have joined in this initiative since then, bringing the total to nearly 130. A 30 per cent reduction in methane emissions by 2030 is expected to result in avoiding 0.2 degree rise in temperature by the year 2050, and is considered absolutely essential in the global efforts to keep the temperature increase below the 1.5 degree Celsius target.
- The MARS initiative is intended to strengthen these efforts. It would feed into the recently formed International Methane Emissions Observatory of the UN Environment Programme.
- To start with, MARS will track the large point emission sources, mainly in the fossil fuel industry, but with time, would be able to detect emissions from coal, waste, livestock and rice fields as well.
MARS has four components:
Back to Basics
- In the last few years, there has been a lot of emphasis on reducing methane emissions.
- Methane is the second-most common of the six major greenhouse gases, but is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its potential to cause global warming.
- Accounting for about 17 per cent of the current global greenhouse gas emissions, methane is blamed for having caused at least 25 to 30 per cent of temperature rise since the pre-industrial times.
- However, unlike carbon dioxide, methane is largely a sectoral gas, and there are only a few sources of emission.
- It is possible, therefore, to cut down on methane emissions without having widespread impact on the economy.
- Because its global warming potential is about 80 times that of carbon dioxide, a reduction in methane emissions also brings big benefits in a short time.
- Methane is an 80 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It accounts for a small portion of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions compared to carbon dioxide. But it is thought to be 80 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat in the 20 years following its release.
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