A New Dilemma with Methane Emissions

Unaccounted Methane Emissions?

Just a few days ago, it was reported by scientists that there is an unaccounted percentage of methane emissions worldwide through satellites. With the present technology, it was found that there is a leak of methane from landfills, gas pipelines and more. Methane is a natural gas that has an estimated 80 times more potency than carbon dioxide and it is a greenhouse gas that is widely used around the world as fuel. 

This mind-boggling data is a new cause for the scientists to uncover where, exactly, are the largest emissions coming from. With the help of the Tropomi team, a team who specializes in researching which areas have the largest methane emissions, found that Turkmenistan is currently emitting huge amounts of methane. Turkmenistan, a country known for their oil and gas production, is in danger of disasters due to the mass leakage of methane. However, Turkmenistan is not the only country that is in danger. Several countries such as the United States of America, Russia and other European countries have been leaking methane, often when there is ongoing maintenance work on infrastructures. Ironically, reports have found that there is an increase of 40% in leaks in 2020 compared to 2019,  despite the acts of reducing imports on gas.

Satellites have provided more opportunities to identify other leaks that might have gone unnoticed. It would be easier to detect if something is amiss or if anything is needed to be changed to prevent any disasters from occurring. Also, it may prevent other issues from occurring as the use of satellites will give more detailed reports in case there is a lack of transparency for any event. Still, this technology will give us more knowledge about the occurrences worldwide.

Who does this affect?

This massive leakage affects all countries as the methane emission is a huge factor for global warming. Essentially, it will affect our climate and lives in a manner that cannot be solved in the short-term. Seeing that gas is matter that is found in the air, it would take decades upon decades to undo the change in our atmosphere for the better.

Businesses, specifically those in the fuel industry, will need to restructure and change their ways of acquiring fuel. As many countries face the consequences of the lack of transparency with the ways of how they acquire the gas, it would inevitably affect businesses with possible increase of costs and more. This inability to be transparent is attributed to the improper installations and usage of pipes, as well as the lack of care for the leakage. It is inevitable that many companies face retribution for their inappropriate actions.

What is being done?

The existing Paris Agreement that originated from Paris during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will need to be modified to better suit the current findings by the space scientists. Actions should be made to rectify the present loopholes that have allowed for such incidents to occur as it will massively affect our everyday lives for decades. However, it may be difficult for countries to cooperate with the new amendment to the agreement due to political and such issues. There is also the matter of differences between each country’s ability to fund and make these possible changes.

In the next COP26, or the Conference of the Parties, there will be more news on this issue as the previous meeting held had concluded with the agreement that countries will further reduce their emission of coal and continue the elimination of fossil fuel. It is now simply a race of time to see if these agreements can help these recent findings. 

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