Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for over one-quarter of the climate warming we are experiencing today. While emissions associated with fossil fuel sector have the greatest potential for cost-effective mitigation, global methane emissions from the energy sector continued to increase reaching 135 million tonnes in 2022, according to the 2023 edition of the flagship International Energy Agency’s (IEA) publication – Global Methane Tracker.
The single largest methane release into the atmosphere by explosion of the Nord Stream pipeline last year is what normal oil and gas operations around the world release every single day. Timely detection and reduction of large emission sources is one of the most cost-effective methane reduction strategies. To this objective the UNEP International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) designed the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) – the first global system that connects satellite methane detection to transparent notification process that promote on-the-ground emissions mitigation efforts. MARS harnesses state-of-the-art satellite data to identify major emissions events, activate its partners to notify relevant stakeholders, and support and track progress towards mitigation.
Current satellite technology allows MARS to now tackle the largest emission sources, responsible for around 10% of emissions. As the technology quickly improves, the system will integrate additional data from the rapidly expanding system of methane-detecting satellites to include lower-emitting and area sources and more frequent detection. This will allow MARS to expand the system into the agricultural and waste sectors in the future.
Join the debate to learn more about MARS and its potential in addressing climate change.