Focus on Methane emissions at COP-28

Context: Speaking at the inaugural UAE Climate Tech summit,  COP28 President Designate Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber called upon the oil and gas industry to phase out methane emissions by 2030 and align in favour of comprehensive net-zero emission plans by or before 2050.

COP28, or the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference is scheduled to be held between November 30 and December 12 in the UAE.

Methane & Climate Change

  • Methane is the second most abundant anthropogenic GHG after carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for about 20 percent of global emissions.
  • It is emitted from a variety of anthropogenic and natural sources.
  • Anthropogenic emission sources include landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes.
  • Methane emissions are among the top causes of global warming and according to Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), fossil fuel operations generate over one-third of all methane emissions from human activity. Thus, action on methane is seen as one of the most effective measures the energy sector can take to mitigate climate change.
  • It is a hydrocarbon that is a primary component of natural gas.
Methane hydrates is a frozen methane locked inside the microscopic cages composed of water molecules. They are found in continental slopes where pressure is high and temperature is low. India’s coastal region is rich in Methane Hydrates.


International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO)

  • The International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) was launched at the G20 Summit, on the eve of the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow.
  • It is a data-driven, action-focused initiative by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) with support from the European Commission to catalyse dramatic reduction of methane emissions, for achieving Paris agreement goals.
  • An Eye on Methane (2021) is the report by International Methane Emissions Observatory 2021
  • IMEO will initially focus on methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector, and then expand to other major emitting sectors like agriculture and waste.
  • This will allow IMEO to engage companies and governments around the world to utilize this data to target strategic mitigation actions and support
  • science-based policy options.
  • IMEO will provide the means to prioritize actions and monitor commitments made by state actors in the Global Methane Pledge (Launched at Glasgow, COP26) – a US and EU-led effort by over thirty countries to slash methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030
  • India has not signed up for the pledge.

Global Methane Initiative

  • It is an international public private partnership focused on reducing barriers to the recovery and use of methane as a valuable energy source.
  • GMI provides technical support to deploy methane to energy projects around the world that enable Partner Countries to launch methane recovery and use projects. 
  • GMI advances methane mitigation in 3 key sectors: Oil & Gas, Biogas (including agriculture, municipal solid waste, and wastewater) and Coal Mines.
  • Methane emissions from Oil & Gas Sector: Methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems result from both normal operations and system disruptions. These emissions can be cost-effectively reduced by upgrading technologies or equipment, and by improving operations.
  • Methane emissions from Biogas Sector: Biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic material or emitted directly from landfills can be treated to create pipeline-quality natural gas, used as a cooking fuel, used to generate electricity, and captured on-site to provide heat and power.
  • Methane emissions from Coal Mines Sector: Removing fugitive methane gas from underground coal mines and using it in profitable and practical ways can improve worker safety, enhance mine productivity, increase revenues, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Membership: GMI Partner Countries account for approximately 70% of global manmade methane emissions. India is a member of this organisation.

Through these efforts, GMI aims to:

a. Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions

b. Improving human health

c. Increasing worker safety

d. Improving air and water quality

e. Enhancing energy security

f. Expanding economic growth

Global Methane Assessment

  • The assessment was launched by Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) together with UNEP.

Key findings:

  • Europe has greatest potential to curb methane emissions from farming, fossil fuel operations & waste management.
  • India has greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector.
  • China’s mitigation potential is best in coal production and livestock.
  • Africa’s mitigation potential is in livestock, followed by oil and gas.
  • Methane in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2020, which is a cause of concern as it is an extremely powerful GHG and is responsible for about 30 per cent of warming since pre-industrial times. 
  • However, carbon dioxide levels have dropped during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions.


Q. Which of the following statements are correct about the deposits of ‘methane hydrate?

1.  Global warming might trigger the release of methane gas from these deposits.

2.  Large deposits of ‘methane hydrate’ are found in Arctic Tundra and under the seafloor.

3. Methane in atmosphere oxidizes to carbon dioxide after a decade or two.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Scroll down for answer











Ans. (d)

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