Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

MARS A new alert system to detect Methane emissions


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MARS alert system, global Methane pledge, Methane

Mains level: MARS alert system, Methane emission



  • A new satellite-based system will now help governments detect methane emissions and tackle them. The Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) was launched at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

What is Methane Alert and Response System (MARS)?

  • MARS is a part of global efforts to slow climate change by tracking the global warming gas.
  • The system will be the first publicly available global system to connect methane detection to notification processes transparently.
  • The data-to-action platform was set up as part of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation.


How the “MARS” will work?

  • The Methane Alert and Response System, or MARS, will integrate data from a large number of existing and future satellites to identify significant methane emission events anywhere in the world.
  • It will send out notifications to the relevant stakeholders and support and track mitigation progress.
  • According to the UN statement MARS will track the large point emission sources, mainly in the fossil fuel industry, but with time, would be able to detect emissions from coal, waste, livestock and rice fields as well.
  • 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.


Methane a dangerous greenhouse gas

  • A major greenhouse gas: Methane is the second-most common of the six major greenhouse gases, but is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide in its potential to cause global warming.
  • One of major contributor of GHG emissions: Contribution Accounting for about 17 per cent of the current global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • One of the key reasons behind Temperature rise: Methane is blamed for having caused at least 25 to 30 per cent of temperature rise since the pre-industrial times.
  • Methane largely a Sectoral gas: Unlike carbon dioxide, methane is largely a sectoral gas, and there are only a few sources of emission.
  • Few sources large emissions of methane: The global warming potential of methane is about 80 times that of carbon dioxide. It accounts for a small portion of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions compared to carbon dioxide.


Why such alert system is necessary?

  • To achieve the target set by Global methane pledge: At the Glasgow climate conference last year, nearly 100 countries had come together in a voluntary pledge the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 from the 2020 levels. More countries have joined in this initiative since then, bringing the total to nearly 130.
  • To keep the temperature, rise below 5-degree Celsius: A 30 per cent reduction in methane emissions by 2030 is expected to result in avoiding 0.2 degree rise in temperature by the year 2050, and is considered absolutely essential in the global efforts to keep the temperature increase below the 1.5-degree Celsius target. This is a global, not a national reduction target.
  • Reducing methane emissions from the atmosphere provides multiple benefits: Methane being a sectoral gas with few sources of emission, it is possible to cut down on methane emissions without having widespread impact on the economy, a reduction in methane emissions brings big benefits in a short time.
  • MARS Provides technical and advisory to the partners: If requested, MARS partners will also provide technical or advisory services, such as help in assessing mitigation opportunities

All you need to know about Conference of Parties (COP).

  • Unless the parties decide otherwise, every year The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convenes what is called a Conference of Parties (COP), a meeting that brings together leaders and delegates from around the world to strengthen their commitments and actions against specific climate change goals.
  • The parties are the 198 countries that ratified the UNFCCC.
  • The UNFCCC is an international treaty focused on preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system, primarily by stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


  • Cutting methane is the fastest opportunity to reduce warming and keep 1.5°C within reach, and this MARS a new alert and response system is going to be a critical tool for helping all of us deliver on the Global Methane Pledge.

Mains Question

Q. Methane is thought to be 80 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat in the 20 years following its release. Discuss how MARS a new alert system would be helpful to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius?

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1 year ago

Ionizing radiation currently covers Mars’ surface, and the planet’s soil is abound with perchlorates that are toxic to microorganisms. Therefore, it is generally agreed that, if life does or did once exist on Mars, it would most likely be found or preserved in the bitlife, far from the planet’s current harsh surface processes.


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