Energy Agency: Methane emissions higher than countries claim

The International Energy Agency says global-warming methane emissions from oil, gas and coal production are significantly higher than governments claim

PARIS — The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that emissions of global warming methane from oil, gas and coal production are significantly higher than governments claim.

The Paris-based agency said its analysis shows emissions are 70% higher than the official figure provided by governments around the world. If all the leaks were plugged, the captured methane would be enough to power Europe’s entire electricity sector, he said.

The findings underscore “the urgent need for enhanced monitoring efforts and stronger policy action to reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas,” he said.

Experts say methane is responsible for nearly a third of the temperature increase that has occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution. However, the gas remains in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than carbon dioxide.

Reducing methane emissions is seen as a crucial and rapid way to limit warming over the coming decades.

The IEA said its annual Global Methane Tracker report shows emissions from the energy sector rose nearly 5% last year. He said the volume of methane leak was about 180 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

“This is equivalent to all the gas used in the electricity sector in Europe and more than enough to alleviate the current tensions in the market,” the IEA said.

The agency’s executive director, Fatih Birol, called for greater transparency on the size and location of methane emissions.

New satellites have helped experts identify important emission sources, although regions along the equator, the far north and offshore are still poorly covered.

The countries with the highest emissions are China, Russia, the United States, Iran and India, the IEA said.

ABC News

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