IEA: A turning point for methane emissions?

Methane emissions from energy rose slightly in 2023 but are expected to decline soon, according to data from the International Energy Agency’s latest Global Methane Tracker update.

In a statement issued today (18 March), the IEA said that its Global Methane Tracker found that the production and use of fossil fuels resulted in close to 120 million tonnes of methane emissions in 2023, a small rise compared with 2022.

The IEA said that the current emissions ‘remain far too high to meet international climate targets’ – and if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, a key goal of the Paris Agreement, ‘methane emissions from fossil fuels need to decline by 75% this decade’.

But the IEA indicated that we may be at a ‘turning point’.

‘Fortunately,’ said the Agency, ‘efforts to cut methane emissions are expected to accelerate in 2024 and beyond, with COP28 ushering in a step-change in ambition. If all methane pledges made by countries and companies to date are implemented in full and on time, it would be sufficient to cut methane emissions from fossil fuels by 50% by 2030.’

The IEA added that: ’Satellites continue to bring the world’s understanding of methane emissions and their sources into sharper focus. Greater transparency from improving technology will make it easier to identify large leaks and address them quickly.’

As previously reported, MethaneSAT – the satellite developed by a subsidiary of the climate action non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) which is set to track and quantify methane emissions from space – was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 4 March,

Click here to view the IEA’s annual Global Methane Tracker report.

Image: Shutterstock

Ian Taylor