Global Methane Tracker 2024

News Excerpt:

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global Methane Tracker 2024, methane emissions from fuel use in 2023 were close to being the highest ever at 120 million tonnes (Mt).

More about the news:

  • Two thirds of the methane that escaped into the atmosphere came from the top 10 emitter countries.
    • The United States topped the list of largest emitters of methane from oil and gas operations, followed by Russia.
  • Although studies indicate that emissions are decreasing in certain areas, the overall emissions still exceed the world's climate goals by a significant margin.
  • More than 5 million tons of methane emissions were traced back to major fossil fuel leaks around the world.
    • A major oil well blowout in Kazakhstan, which began in June 2023 and continued for more than 200 days.
  • Earlier a new satellite, MethaneSAT, backed by Google, was launched to track and measure methane emissions at a global scale.

Global Methane Tracker 2024:

  • The Global Methane Tracker is an annual report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • The report offers the most up-to-date estimates of emissions across various sectors.
    • It incorporates the latest data and observations from satellites as well as ground-based measurements.
    • It also tracks current pledges and policies to drive down methane emissions and progress towards these goals.
  • For the first time the Tracker includes the investments needed to deliver emissions reductions and the potential revenue from these measures.


  • Methane is an invisible but strong greenhouse gas.
    • A critical driver of climate change: When it comes to trapping heat inside Earth's atmosphere, methane is over 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
    • According to the UNEP, methane has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere.
    • It is the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.
    • Methane is responsible for 30% of global heating since the Industrial Revolution.
  • The gas also contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone.
    • Ozone is a colourless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the Earth's surface. 
    • According to a 2022 report, exposure to ground-level ozone could contribute to one million premature deaths yearly.

Mitigating Methane Leaks:

  • Stemming methane leaks is the fastest single way to curb the escalation of average global temperatures.
  • Methane emissions from fossil fuels could go down by around 50% by 2030 if companies and countries implement all methane policies and pledges in time.
  • Reducing oil and gas methane emissions by 45% till 2025 would deliver the same 20-year benefit to the climate as immediately closing 1,300 coal-fired power plants.
  • The world needs to slash methane emissions from fossil fuels by 75% by 2030 to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.
    • The IEA estimated that this goal would require about $170 billion in spending. 
    • This is less than 5% of the income generated by the fossil fuel industry in 2023.

Can pledges make a difference?

  • First Global Stocktake (GST) outcome at COP28 urges countries to accelerate and significantly reduce global non-carbon-dioxide emissions, such as methane, by 2030.
    • But the GST outcome falls short of specifying a measurable target for methane reduction efforts.
  • Over 50 oil and gas companies introduced the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter at COP28.
    • These companies collectively represent more than 40% of global oil production.
    • The charter aims to accelerate emissions reductions within the industry.
    • But the  Charter only targets upstream emissions from oil and gas production.
      • It neglects the need for phasing out fossil fuels, which are responsible for emissions at least five times higher.
      • The initiative fails to include key countries and shows strong overlaps with Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • A fact sheet released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) expressed concerns regarding the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI).
    • Six out of the top 10 oil and gas companies by production in 2022 are part of OGCI.
    • OGCI, initiated in 2014, aims to achieve near-zero methane intensity by 2030.
    • However, CSE argues that voluntary pledges lack specificity and do not adequately tackle the entirety of the issue.

International Energy Agency:

  • The IEA was founded in 1974 to ensure the security of oil supplies. 
    • It was created in response to the 1973-1974 oil crisis when an oil embargo by major producers pushed prices to historic levels, and exposed the vulnerability of industrialised countries to dependency on oil imports.
  • Agency is hosted at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
  • IEA currently has 31 member countries and 13 association countries, representing 75% of global energy demand. 
    • India is an association country of the IEA.

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