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Methane Session at the 32nd Session of the Committee of Sustainable Energy

15 September 2023 10:30 - 11:30
Geneva Switzerland



The goals of the session are to: 

  1. Present to the Committee of Sustainable Energy the current situation of global methane emissions, review the existing agreements and initiatives targeting such emissions and evaluate their impact, and explore opportunities and challenges of the new methane detection and monitoring technologies and methods, and
  2. Highlight and explain the difficulty of addressing the problem of ventilation air methane, review available solutions, and present the Group’s current work on that matter. 


Over the years the governments, as well as the relevant energy-related industries have undertaken a large number of initiatives aiming to better identify sources of methane emissions, more accurately measure the latter, and to effectively reduce them. However, as the issue is very difficult to tackle, also because it is multidimensional and highly politicized along various axes whether domestically or internationally, the up-to-date results of all those undertakings have not been satisfactory, and therefore the need for an effective action on methane is nowadays more visible than ever. 

Satellite technologies offer new opportunities in monitoring the emissions. At the same time, their application, if it is to render accurate, reliable, and comparable results requires careful analysis based of a common methodology, as well as corroboration.

Technologies, such as those for the remote methane emission sensing, or for destroying VAM, need policies that require and regulate their use, and which in turn, need to be enforced. Therefore, without a true forward-looking and long-term commitment of policymakers to effectively address the problem, real progress in methane emissions abatement efforts will not be made. 

Addressed Issues

The session had a form of a panel that was preceeded by short specific theme-oriented statements by each participant, which constituted a basis for a general discussion and States' interventions. The session was moderated by the Chair of the Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane and Just Transition, and it addressed the following issues:

  • Assessment of up-to-date results of the existing methane emissions reduction initiatives;
  • To what extent can new technologies help with by providing adequate monitoring and cost-effective modes of effective abatement of methane emissions from energy-related industries?
    • What is the future of satellite measurements?
    • Can Artificial Intelligence be of help with addressing methane emissions?
  • What policies on methane do we need to effectively tackle the problem?
    • What is the interface between technology and policy?
  • What can UNECE do to help member States?
  • Ventilation Air Methane
    • What policy changes could increase interest and investment in reduction of VAM emissions?
  • Ways to engage with the decision-makers and the general public