A project to develop a standardised method of estimating methane emissions generated from the energy industry has been concluded by the International Energy Forum (IEF), culminating a four-month long collaborative effort.

Methane emissions are second only to carbon dioxide (CO2) as a contributor to climate change, yet just 10% of what is observed via satellite is reported.

The finalised methodology focuses on standardising the management of methane emissions, with their reduction being seen by many as the single most effective way to slow global warming and meet Paris Agreement targets.

Three key metrics have been studied in the methodology including methane intensities of hydrocarbon production across the supply chain, super-emitter events, and flaring intensities.

Calling it a ‘valuable asset’ for countries to present plans for reducing their methane emissions, Joseph McMonigle, Secretary General, IEF, said, “This standardised methodology is an essential tool for any country hoping to manage methane emissions from the energy industry using authoritative data based on satellite observations.”

A United Nations Environment Program report revealed that around 30% of pre-industrial era warming is caused by anthropogenic methane emissions, 40% of which is caused by the energy sector. Such emissions can be detected using Sentinel-5P satellite data, artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms, tools to be utilised by the new standardised methodology.

“Methane emissions are truly the low-hanging fruit for climate action,” said Dr Leila R. Benali, Chief Economist, IEF.

“This methodology provides an acceptable level of accuracy, so countries can invest resources in mitigation rather than debating the numbers.”