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Fossil fuels firms failed to curb methane emission: What IEA’s annual report says

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation


Source: IE

 Context: The International Energy Agency (IEA) released the annual Methane Global Tracker report in 2023.

Background: The report has come after energy giants (Shell, BP, ExxonMobil) reported record profits last year as the Russia-Ukraine war drove up oil and natural gas prices.


Findings of the report:

  • The energy sector accounts for around 40% of the total average methane emissions from human activity.
  • Oil and natural gas companies are known to release methane into the atmosphere when natural gas is flared or vented.
  • It is also released through leaks from valves and other equipment during the drilling, extraction and transportation process.
  • Fossil fuel companies emitted 120 million metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere in 2022 and have done nothing to find and fix leaking infrastructure.


Recommendations in the report:

  • Methane cuts (by 75%) from the energy sector are among the cheapest options to limit near-term global warming (lower global temperature rise by nearly 0.1 degree Celsius by mid-century).
  • Reducing wastage by measures such as leak detection, repair and upgrading leaky equipment would cost less than 3% of the net income received by the oil and gas industry in 2022.
  • Methane emissions can be reduced with the help of the right policies and implementation and cheap and readily available technology.


Why is curbing methane emissions essential?

Methane (CH4)Efforts
●        A greenhouse gas (GHG) responsible for 30% of the warming since preindustrial times, second only to carbon dioxide (CO2).

●        However, it is 80 times more potent at warming than CO2.

●        According to the IPCC, the world must cut methane emissions by at least 30 % by 2030.


●        Global Methane PledgeBoth the US and the EU have planned to cut methane emissions by 30% (by 2030) compared with the 2020 levels.

●        UNEP’s International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy – To get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation.

●        Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) – Launched at the COP27 to the UNFCCC in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt



●        In India (3rd largest emitter of CH4) ~20% of its anthropogenic CH4 emissions come from agriculture (manure management), coal mines, municipal solid waste, etc.

●        According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, a nationwide strategy to boost biogas production has received significant funding.

Insta Links:

How can methane released in livestock belches be reduced?


Prelims Links: (UPSC 2022)

Among the following crops, which one is the most important anthropogenic source of both methane and nitrous oxide?

      1. Cotton
      2. Rice
      3. Sugarcane
      4. Wheat


Ans: 2