fbpx Skip to content



Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains: General Studies III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Why in the News ?

Methane ranks as the second most significant contributor to global warming, following carbon dioxide. MethaneSAT’s mission is to determine the origins and quantities of methane emissions, as well as the parties responsible for them, and to track whether these emissions are increasing or decreasing over time.

Source: IE

Key Facts 🗝️

  • Climate Impact: Second most potent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, contributing significantly to global warming.
  • MethaneSAT Purpose: Aims to pinpoint methane emission sources, assess responsibility, and track trends over time.

  • Policy Support: MethaneSAT data aids policymakers in implementing targeted interventions to address methane emissions.

📌 FYI on Prelims

International Energy Agency (IEA) Report

  • The IEA’s Methane Global Tracker report highlights that 75% of methane emissions from the energy sector can be reduced using cost-effective technology.
  • Implementing these measures could bring significant benefits, including additional gas to markets and reduced emissions.



  • MethaneSAT is a satellite project aimed at monitoring methane emissions on Earth, particularly from the oil and gas sector.
  • Developed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in collaboration with Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the New Zealand Space Agency.

Key Features of MethaneSAT

  • Orbits the Earth 15 times a day, providing comprehensive coverage of methane emissions.
  • Collects data to identify sources of methane, track emission trends over time, and assess responsibility for emissions.

Significance of MethaneSAT

  • Methane is the second-largest contributor to global warming, responsible for 30% of global heating since the Industrial Revolution.
  • MethaneSAT helps address this issue by providing valuable data for policymakers and industries to reduce methane emissions effectively.

Importance of Tracking Methane Emissions

  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
  • Monitoring methane emissions is crucial for understanding and mitigating climate change.

Impact of Methane Emissions on Climate Change

  • Fossil fuel operations contribute about 40% of human-caused methane emissions.
  • Ground-level ozone formation, resulting from methane emissions, leads to health hazards and premature deaths.

Methane Emissions in the Energy Sector

  • The energy sector accounts for a significant portion of methane emissions, primarily from oil and natural gas operations.
  • Implementing effective policies and technologies can substantially reduce methane emissions with minimal cost to the industry.

Fossil Fuels

  • Fossil fuels are natural resources formed from the remains of living organisms over millions of years.
  • They include coal, oil, and natural gas, and are major sources of energy worldwide.

Types and Formation of Fossil Fuels

  • Coal: Formed from compressed plant matter over millions of years.
  • Oil: Results from the decomposition of organic materials under pressure and heat.
  • Natural Gas: Forms alongside oil deposits or as a byproduct of decaying organic matter.


Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that significantly contributes to global warming and climate change. Here are some key facts about methane:

Sources of Methane Emissions

  • Natural Sources: Methane is produced naturally through processes such as anaerobic decomposition in wetlands, enteric fermentation in livestock, and geological seepage from underground reservoirs.
  • Anthropogenic Sources: Human activities also contribute to methane emissions, primarily through activities like agriculture (rice cultivation, livestock farming), fossil fuel extraction and combustion, waste management (landfills), and biomass burning.

Environmental Impact

  • Global Warming Potential: Methane is a more potent GHG than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year period, with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of approximately 28-36 times that of CO2.
  • Climate Feedbacks: Increased methane emissions can lead to positive feedback loops, exacerbating climate change by contributing to temperature rise, altering precipitation patterns, and accelerating ice melt.

Role in Climate Change Mitigation

  • Short-lived Climate Pollutant: While methane has a shorter atmospheric lifespan compared to CO2, reducing methane emissions can yield more immediate climate benefits due to its higher GWP.
  • Methane Reduction Strategies: Implementing methane mitigation measures, such as improving livestock management, reducing leaks in fossil fuel infrastructure, and capturing methane from landfills, can help mitigate climate change and improve air quality.

Methane and Sustainable Development Goals

  • SDG 13 – Climate Action: Addressing methane emissions aligns with SDG 13, which aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • Co-benefits: Methane mitigation efforts can contribute to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals by reducing air pollution, conserving biodiversity, and promoting sustainable agriculture and waste management practices.

Policy and International Initiatives

  • Paris Agreement: The Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of methane reduction as part of global efforts to limit temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • Global Methane Initiative: This international partnership aims to reduce methane emissions across key sectors through voluntary actions, technology development, and capacity building.

More Link

What's New


Copyright © 2023 UPSC Padhai. All Rights Reserved.