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About Methane Management

Background and Mandate

Available information regarding methane emissions from extractive industries is relatively sporadic and often based on estimates. There is neither a common technological approach to monitoring and recording methane emissions, nor a standard method for reporting them. The extent of the challenge and opportunity to manage such emissions remains largely undefined.

At its 23rd session held on 19–21 November 2014, the Committee on Sustainable Energy considered the potential role for the UNECE in developing norms and standards in the area of methane management. The Committee recommended that work be done to agree on common philosophies, standards, and technologies for monitoring, recording, and reporting methane emissions at each stage of production, processing, storage, transmission, distribution, and use of fossil fuels, whether coal, oil, or natural gas, while recognizing that there will be adaptation to specific situations.

Additionally, it was agreed there is a need to mitigate methane emissions, including identifying appropriate mechanisms for mobilizing needed resources, and to fund a detailed study on a common basis across the entire UNECE region.

In this context, the Committee requested that the relevant UNECE expert groups prepare a coordinated, solutions-oriented report about methane management in extractive industries with a focus on establishing a baseline, benchmarking and scale of current methane emissions in those industries, and with the aim of giving clear guidance to policy makers. (See para. 46 of the Report of the 23rd session of the Committee).