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The importance of data when tackling emissions

A Key Takeaway from COP27

Last month, the world gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss climate change at COP27. Decarbonisation was a key topic alongside the importance of reducing and tracking emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane. 

Before COP27 kicked off, we published an article outlining five topics to look out for at COP 27. Number one on the list was ‘Decarbonisation & Emissions’. As anticipated, the reduction of methane gas emissions took centre stage at COP27. In particular, the reduction of methane gas emissions. 

What is methane and how does it affect climate change?

When considering climate change, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases is often the first solution that comes to mind. Greenhouse gases are gases within the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat and cause warming: a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect.  

A certain level of natural greenhouse effect is necessary, or the Earth would be too cold to sustain life. Since the industrial revolution, the concentration of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (those caused by human activities) in the atmosphere has increased. Burning fossil fuels, agriculture, and deforestation are sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gases which are increasing global temperature beyond natural levels.   

Although Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is perhaps a better-known greenhouse gas, methane (CH4) is also critical. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that methane caused 30% of the global temperature rise since the industrial revolution.  

Although methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, it has significant greater global warming potential in the near term. Methane’s global warming potential is also over eighty times more potent that carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.  

With statistics like that, it is no wonder that reducing and tracking methane greenhouse gas emissions was on the agenda at both COP26 and COP27.  

COP26: The Global Methane Pledge 

Last year, COP26 launched an initiative to reduce anthropogenic methane gas emissions. The Global Methane Pledge is a voluntary commitment by countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union, to work collectively to reduce global methane emissions across all sectors by at least 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. Since COP26, 150 countries have pledged their support. 

Methane has a considerable global warming effect, so the Global Methane Pledge offered a significant opportunity to limit the increase of global temperature to 1.5°C per the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS): One Key Output from COP27 

During the first week of COP27, the UN’s environment watchdog launched the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS). The MARS system was developed to support the Global Methane Pledge. It uses satellites to detect and alert methane emissions to enable rapid response from governments and businesses.  

MARS will use satellites to track methane emissions from oil and gas operations and, in the future, integrate data from other methane-intensive industries like agriculture. Data-driven systems like MARS should allow for a targeted approach to methane emission reduction by the countries who signed the Global Methane Pledge. 

The Importance of Data

The first step to tackling any challenge is understanding. Before you can propose a solution, you need to know the scale and nature of what you are tackling. Data is critical. 

That is what MARS provides to the Global Methane Pledge. MARS will show people where methane is emitted most, alert relevant stakeholders, and enable emissions reduction. It is an exciting system that illustrates what we’re all about at Klarian: data-driven transformation.  

Once MARS identifies where methane is emitted most, operators still need to track whether the changes they make to limit emissions work. Once again, data is key. If you are looking to reduce your operation’s emissions, you need to set a quantifiable benchmark to improve against. By comparing accurate data sets before an after implementing an emissions reduction initiative, you can see if you have found a viable solution with a quantifiable impact.  

At Klarian, we believe that data is a company’s greatest asset. We use it to understand our clients’ operational challenges and develop data-driven solutions to increase operational efficiency, profitability, and sustainability.  Like MARS, our technology harnesses the power of data to enable quantifiable operational improvements and emissions reductions.  

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