UN to launch new platform to track methane emitters from space

Big emitters of the heat-trapping gas methane can expect a call from the United Nations starting next year, when the global body launches a new platform to combine existing systems for tracking the potent greenhouse gas from space.

The U.N. Environment Programme said Friday that the new Methane Alert and Response System — MARS for short — is intended to help companies act on major emissions sources but also provide data in a transparent and independent way.

It draws on satellite measurements performed by NASA and the European, German and Italian space agencies. Data from private satellite operators will also be incorporated in future.

“Each of these instruments give us a correct answer to a question that is slightly different, because each of them see different things,” said Manfredi Caltagirone, head of the International Methane Emissions Observatory at UNEP. “So the only way you can have a correct picture is to connect them all together.”

The data will be released 45 to 75 days after it is gathered, meaning companies will have sufficient time to fix the leaks by the time they become public. – READ MORE