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UN unveils satellite-based system to spot methane

CO2 pollution from fossil fuels to hit all-time high in 2022

November 12, 2022 00:00:00

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Nov 11 (Agencies): The UN unveiled on Friday a satellite-based system to detect methane emissions as part of efforts to cut down on the major contributor to global warming.

The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) was announced by the UN Environment Programme during the COP27 climate summit in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Methane, emitted by leaks in fossil fuel installations as well as from other human caused sources like livestock farming and landfills, is responsible for roughly 30 per cent of the global rise in temperatures to date.

Dozens of countries last year pledged to act to cut pollution from the potent greenhouse gas.

MARS will use data from global mapping satellites to detect methane "hot spots" and large plumes of the gas, and identify its source, the UN Environment Programme said in a statement.

UNEP would then notify governments and companies about the emissions "so that the responsible entity can take appropriate action."

"Reducing methane emissions can make a big and rapid difference, as this gas leaves the atmosphere far quicker than carbon dioxide," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

US climate envoy John Kerry said cutting methane was the "fastest opportunity" to help the world reach the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile another report adds: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change, are on track to rise one per cent in 2022 to reach an all-time high, scientists said Friday at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

Released during the United Nations COP27 climate summit, the Global Carbon Budget report laid bare the gap between the promises governments, companies and investors have made to cut planet-warming emissions in future years, and their actions today - which cause emissions to keep rising.

Countries are expected to emit a total 41 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2022, said the report by more than 100 scientists, with 37 billion tonnes from burning fossil fuels and 4 billion tonnes from uses of land like deforestation.

This year's increase was driven by higher oil use in transport - paticularly aviation - as economies continued to reopen from lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emissions from burning coal increased, as countries have turned to the most-polluting fossil fuel after Russia restricted natural gas supplies to Europe after its Feburary invasion of Ukrane, which sent global gas prices soaring.

CO2 output from China, the world's biggest polluter, fell by 0.9% as COVID-19 lockdowns persisted. European emissions also decreased slightly.

Emissions rose by 1.5% in the United States and jumped by 6% in India, the world's second and fourth-biggest emitters, respectively.

The U.N. climate science panel has said global greenhouse gases must decrease 43% by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5C and avoid its most severe impacts.

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