• UN and EU launch International Methane Emissions Observatory

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The United Nations and the European Union have jointly launched a global methane accounting watchdog, the International Methane Emissions Observatory. With methane being 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide over 100 years, but 80 times during its 12-year average lifespan in the atmosphere, there is a strong effort to rein in such emissions quickly, especially as many methane emissions have no productive function. (The EU, USA and UK in September agreed to reduce methane emissions by 30% over the next ten years.) Speaking at the beginning of the COP26 climate conference, EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said that existing systems for methane emissions monitoring “do not allow us to determine precisely enough where emissions happen across the globe and in what volumes”, and with the increasing emphasis on reducing emissions, it follows that better monitoring is required. Strategically-placed ground sensors, satellite imagery and software will be necessary to adequately monitor emissions and atmospheric levels, and although the IMEO will receive no industry funding, it will receive data provided voluntarily by industry, especially from the third of oil and gas companies that have already pledged to reduce their methane emissions. The new body will be an interesting source of knowledge in the coming years.