Methane Alert and Response System (MARS): COP27: UN to set up system to track methane emissions from space

Source: The post is based on the article “COP27: UN to set up system to track methane emissions from space” published in Indian Express on 15th November 2022

What is the News?

The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) was launched at the 27th Conference of Parties(COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

What is a Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)?

MARS is the first publicly available global system capable of transparently connecting methane detection to notification processes. 

It has been set up as part of the UNEP International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation.

How will the MARS work?

MARS will use data from global mapping satellites to identify very large methane plumes and methane hot spots and data from high-resolution satellites to then attribute the emissions to a specific source. 

UNEP will then notify governments and companies about the emissions, either directly or through partners, so that the responsible entity can take appropriate action.

If requested, MARS partners will provide technical or advisory services such as help in assessing mitigation opportunities. 

UNEP will continue to monitor the event location and make the data and analysis available to the public between 45 and 75 days after detection.

Why target only Methane related emissions?

Methane is the second-most common of the six major greenhouse gases but is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its potential to cause global warming. 

It accounts for about 17% of the current global greenhouse gas emissions. It is also blamed for having caused at least 25 to 30% of temperature rise since the pre-industrial times.

However, unlike carbon dioxide, methane is largely a sectoral gas and there are only a few sources of emission. It is possible, therefore, to cut down on methane emissions without having a widespread impact on the economy.

Moreover, because its global warming potential is about 80 times that of carbon dioxide, a reduction in methane emissions also brings big benefits in a short time.

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