Global Methane Tracker 2024

Global Methane Tracker 2024


In the news

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global Methane Tracker 2024, methane emissions from fuel use in 2023 approached record levels, reaching nearly 120 million tonnes (Mt).

International Energy Agency (IEA)

  • Founded in 1974 to ensure oil supply security, particularly after the 1973-1974 oil crisis highlighted industrialized countries' vulnerability to oil import dependency.
  • Hosted at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, the IEA consists of 31 member countries and 13 association countries, representing 75% of global energy demand. India holds association country status within the IEA.

Additional Details on Methane Emissions

Top Emitters

  • Approximately two-thirds of methane emissions, which entered the atmosphere, originated from the top 10 emitter countries.
  • Notably, the United States ranked as the largest emitter of methane from oil and gas operations, followed closely by Russia.

Continued Concerns

  • Despite indications of declining emissions in specific regions, overall methane emissions still surpass the world's climate goals by a significant margin.
  • This persistent trend raises alarms about the adequacy of current mitigation efforts.

Impact of Fossil Fuel Leaks

  • Over 5 million tons of methane emissions were attributed to significant fossil fuel leaks worldwide.
  • Notably, a major oil well blowout in Kazakhstan, which commenced in June 2023 and endured for over 200 days, contributed substantially to this figure.

Technological Solutions

  • The launch of the MethaneSAT satellite, supported by Google, represents a pivotal advancement in tracking and measuring methane emissions on a global scale.
  • This satellite aims to enhance monitoring capabilities and provide valuable data for identifying emission hotspots and implementing targeted mitigation strategies.

About the Global Methane Tracker 2024

  • Published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Global Methane Tracker is an annual report providing the latest estimates of methane emissions across various sectors.

Scope and Methodology

  • The report incorporates the most recent data and observations from satellites and ground-based measurements.
  • It tracks current pledges and policies aimed at reducing methane emissions and assesses progress towards these goals.
  • For the first time, the Tracker includes analysis on the investments required to achieve emissions reductions and the potential revenue from implementing these measures.


  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, invisible but robust in trapping heat within Earth's atmosphere.
  • Its heat-trapping capability exceeds 28 times that of carbon dioxide, making it a significant driver of climate change.
  • According to the UNEP, methane has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years after its release.
  • It is the second-largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide, accounting for 30% of global heating since the Industrial Revolution.

Health and Environmental Effects

  • Methane also contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, a colorless and highly irritating gas.
  • Exposure to ground-level ozone, as reported in 2022, is linked to approximately one million premature deaths annually.

Mitigating Methane Leaks

  • Key Strategy for Climate Action: Addressing methane leaks represents the most effective single approach to mitigating the acceleration of average global temperatures.
  • Potential Reductions by 2030: If all methane policies and pledges are promptly implemented by companies and countries, methane emissions from fossil fuels could decrease by approximately 50% by 2030.
  • Comparative Impact: A 45% reduction in oil and gas methane emissions by 2025 would yield the same climate benefit over 20 years as closing 1,300 coal-fired power plants immediately.
  • Paris Agreement Targets: To align with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C, methane emissions from fossil fuels must be slashed by 75% by 2030.
  • Financial Requirements: Achieving this target would necessitate an estimated spending of about $170 billion, representing less than 5% of the income generated by the fossil fuel industry in 2023.

Can Pledges Make a Difference?

  • Global Stocktake Outcome at COP28: The first Global Stocktake (GST) outcome at COP28 calls for accelerated reduction of global non-carbon-dioxide emissions, including methane, by 2030. However, it lacks a specific measurable target for methane reduction efforts.
  • Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter: Over 50 oil and gas companies, representing more than 40% of global oil production, introduced the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter at COP28. While aiming to accelerate emissions reductions within the industry, it focuses solely on upstream emissions, neglecting the broader issue of fossil fuel phase-out.
  • Concerns Regarding OGCI: The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), comprising six of the top 10 oil and gas companies by production, aims for near-zero methane intensity by 2030. However, concerns raised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) highlight the lack of specificity in voluntary pledges and inadequate coverage of the entire issue.


The International Energy Agency's Global Methane Tracker 2024 underscores the urgent need for concerted action to address methane emissions, which reached alarming levels in 2023. With methane being a potent greenhouse gas, surpassing even carbon dioxide in its heat-trapping capability, effective mitigation strategies are crucial for climate action. While technological advancements like the MethaneSAT satellite offer promise in monitoring emissions, substantial reductions in methane leakage from fossil fuel operations are imperative to meet climate goals. However, despite initiatives such as the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, concerns persist regarding the specificity and coverage of voluntary pledges. Moving forward, targeted efforts and enhanced cooperation among countries and industries are essential to curb methane emissions and mitigate their adverse impacts on both climate and health.

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