Lu Shen1*, Daniel J. Jacob2, Ritesh Gautam3, Mark Omara3, Tia R. Scarpelli4, Alba Lorente2, Daniel Zavala-Araiza3,5, Xiao Lu6, Zichong Chen2, Jintai Lin1
1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China
2School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, United States
3Environmental Defense Fund, Washington DC 20009, United States
4School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JN, United Kingdom
5Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, 3584 CC, Utrecht, The Netherlands
6School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong, China
Reducing methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation (oil, gas, coal) is an important target for climate policy, but current national emission inventories submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are highly uncertain. Here we use 22 months (May 2018-Feb 2020) of satellite observations from the TROPOMI instrument to better quantify national emissions worldwide by inverse analysis at up to 50 km resolution. We find global emissions of 62.7 ± 11.5 (2σ) Tg a-1 for oil-gas and 32.7 ± 5.2 Tg a-1 for coal. Oil-gas emissions are 30% higher than the global total from UNFCCC reports, mainly due to under-reporting by the four largest emitters including the US, Russia, Venezuela, and Turkmenistan. Eight countries have methane emission intensities from the oil-gas sector exceeding 5% of their gas production (20% for Venezuela, Iraq, and Angola), and lowering these intensities to the global average level of 2.4% would reduce global oil-gas emissions by 11 Tg a-1 or 18%.
Shen, L.*, Jacob, D., Gautam, R., Omara, M., Scarpelli, T., Lorente, A., ., Zavala-Araiza, D., Lu, X., Chen, Z., Lin, J. National quantifications of methane emissions from fuel exploitation using high resolution inversions of satellite observations. Nature Communications, 14, 4948, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-40671-6 , 2023.