CEOS Development Environment

CEOS Support to IMEO MARS Project

Over the past 3 years, the previous Australian SIT Chair Team and current ESA SIT Chair team have been exploring avenues of collaboration between CEOS and UNEP’s International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO). As anticipated at the recent SIT Technical Workshop, IMEO has today launched its ground-breaking Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) at COP 27, with support from the European Commission, the U.S. Government, Global Methane Hub and the Bezos Earth Fund. MARS is the first global system providing rapid, actionable and transparent data on methane emissions thanks to satellites. The data is then made available to policy-makers, businesses and the general public. Thanks to its unique global database of empirically verified methane emissions, IMEO supports companies and governments globally to use data for strategic mitigation actions and to identify science-based policy options.

CEOS and a number of CEOS member space agencies are cited for their involvement in the supply of the crucial satellite data that power MARS. See below for the MARS brochure released by IMEO. 

MARS is a data-to-action platform set up as part of the IMEO strategy to get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, contributing at least a quarter of today’s climate warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we must cut methane emissions at least 30% by 2030 – the goal of the Global Methane Pledge – to keep the 1.5°C temperature limit within reach.

Developed in the framework of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway, MARS will allow UNEP to corroborate emissions reported by companies and characterize changes over time. MARS will be implemented with partners including the International Energy Agency, and the UNEP-hosted Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

MARS will be the first publicly available global system capable of transparently connecting methane detection to notification processes. It will use state-of-the-art satellite data to identify major emission events, notify relevant stakeholders, and support and track mitigation progress. Beginning with very large point sources from the energy sector, MARS will integrate data from the rapidly expanding system of methane-detecting satellites to include lower-emitting area sources and more frequent detection. Data on coal, waste, livestock and rice will be added gradually to MARS to support Global Methane Pledge implementation.

The tool will use data from global mapping satellites to identify very large methane plumes and methane hot spots and attribute the emissions to a specific source. UNEP will then notify governments and companies about the emissions, either directly or through partners, so that the responsible entity can take appropriate action. If requested, MARS partners will provide technical or advisory services such as help in assessing mitigation opportunities. UNEP will continue to monitor the event location and make the data and analysis available to the public between 45 and 75 days after detection.

CEOS offers sincere congratulations to our IMEO colleagues on the launch of MARS, and looks forward to fuelling its future growth and success.