Paris, Feb 21 (EFE).- The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday demanded global methane emissions be slashed after a 2022 rise despite soaring energy prices making actions to reduce them “cheaper than ever.”
Methane emissions from the energy sector reached almost 135 million tons last year – up from 2021 and slightly below the 2019 record – despite globally high energy prices, security of supply concerns and economic uncertainty, IEA’s annual report said.
The energy sector is responsible for about 40 percent of all methane emissions attributed to human activity, second only to agriculture.
“Methane emissions from oil and gas alone could be reduced by 75% with existing technologies, highlighting a lack of industry action on an issue that is often very cheap to address,” IEA said.
It would take less than 3 percent of the revenues of oil and gas companies around the world in 2022 to make the investments necessary to achieve such a drastic cut, the document stressed.
Approximately 260 billion cubic meters of methane are lost to the atmosphere each year in oil and gas operations, and three-quarters of that amount could be retained and brought to market using known techniques and technologies, the IEA said.
“Our new Global Methane Tracker shows that some progress is being made but that emissions are still far too high and not falling fast enough – especially as methane cuts are among the cheapest options to limit near-term global warming. There is just no excuse,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
One of the main greenhouse gases, methane is responsible for around 30 percent of the increase in global temperatures since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, said the report.
The report also highlighted satellites as useful for detecting methane super-emitting events, of which there were more than 500 last year at oil and gas facilities and another 100 at coal mines.
The Global Methane Pledge, launched in November 2021 at the COP26 Climate Change Conference, has around 150 participants that have collectively committed to reduce methane emissions from human activities by 30 percent by 2030.
Contributing countries currently account for 55 percent of total methane emissions from human activities and about 45 percent of methane from fossil fuel operations.
“It will be critical for participants to formulate pragmatic strategies and measures to reduce their own emissions, and to engage with countries that have not yet joined the pledge,” the IEA said. EFE