The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on 23 February 2022 that emissions of planet-warming methane from oil, gas and coal production are significantly higher than governments claim. The Paris-based agency said its analysis shows emissions are 70 per cent higher than the official figure provided by governments worldwide. If all leaks were plugged, the methane captured would be enough to supply all of Europe's power sector.

What

  1. The findings underline the urgent need for enhanced monitoring efforts and stronger policy action to drive down emissions of the potent greenhouse gas.
  2. Experts say methane is responsible for almost a third of the temperature increase that has occurred since the start of the industrial revolution.
  3. The gas remains in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than carbon dioxide, however. Bringing down methane emissions is seen as a crucial and quick way to limit further warming over the coming decades.
  4. The IEA said its annual Global Methane Tracker report shows emissions from the energy sector grew by almost 5 per cent last year. It said the volume of methane leaked amounted to about 180 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
  5. That is equivalent to all the gas used in Europe's power sector and more than enough to ease today's market tightness.
  6. New satellites have helped experts pinpoint the sources of large emissions, though regions along the equator, the far north and offshore are still poorly covered.

Flashback

  1. At last year's COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, participants signed a Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
  2. But of the five countries with the largest methane emissions from their energy sectors -- China, Russia, the United States, Iran and India, the IEA noted only the United States is currently a signatory.