Case Study

Reducing Methane Emissions

Translating data into action to support rapid methane emissions reductions

We are committed to using our skills and expertise to support action against all drivers of climate change: we combine technical data with other sources of information and turn it into actionable information to support aggressive reduction of methane emissions.

The need to focus on methane emissions is clear: it is responsible for about 30% of today’s global warming and its warming potential is ~80 times higher than that of carbon dioxide in a 20-year horizon. The UN’s Environmental Programme (UNEP) has noted that mitigation of methane is very likely the strategy with the greatest potential to decrease warming over the next 20 years. Crucially, the levels of methane mitigation needed to keep warming to 1.5°C will not be achieved by broader decarbonization strategies alone.

Reducing methane emissions will benefit our health and environment too. Methane not only contributes to climate change it is also a key ingredient of ground-level (tropospheric) ozone, which negatively affects air quality and has detrimental effects on ecosystems and crops.

Human activities are responsible for about 60% of global methane emissions, primarily from three sectors: agriculture (~40% of anthropogenic methane), fossil fuels (~35%) and waste (~20%).

Methane emissions have been hard to track. However, recent technological advances and new open-source tools ensure that more and better information to detect and measure methane emissions is being generated. But the mere availability of information is not enough: Data must be translated into action.

Methane emissions and their climate impact must be brought to light to the widest possible range of actors. The relevant actors need to be identified and presented with data in a manner which is factually compelling, legally persuasive, and highlights their responsibility to act, or the failures for which they must be held accountable. Our role is to take technical data, to combine it with other relevant information, and to translate it into forms that other actors can use.

To achieve this, we engage with:

  1. public authorities, to ensure decisions and reporting are based on accurate assessments and due precaution, and to reduce their own emissions;
  2. the private sector, to challenge inaccurate reporting of emissions and highlight impact of methane in supply chains and portfolios; and
  3. civil society, to empower them to increase pressure on high-priority methane targets and to mainstream methane into their climate and environmental advocacy.

We apply this methodology across multiple sectors and geographies. We focus on both reducing existing emissions and avoiding potential increases (e.g., from proposed new facilities).

We do not purport to create change alone, but rather we work to strengthen the entire ecosystem of change – to enhance the impact of multiple groups working towards a common cause. We do not replicate the work of others, but instead operate as a force multiplier: By getting the right information into the right hands and in actionable form, we enhance the impact of both the groups creating the data and the groups that are able to act on it.