IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


14th November, 2022 Environment

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Context:  In keeping with the relatively new focus on cutting methane emissions, the UN has decided to set up a satellite-based monitoring system for tracking it and alerting governments and corporations to respond.



  • 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.
  • 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, a UN statement said.


About Methane:

  • 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 Pledge:

  • 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.
  • US President Joe Biden announced, among other things, a proposal to strengthen domestic standards with the aim of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 87 per cent from 2005 levels.