Carbon Mapper Announces Plans for Latin America Airborne Methane Surveys

Published on: Jun 8, 2022

Proposed activities can directly support countries in meeting the Global Methane Pledge

Today, at the Summit of the Americas Global Methane Hub event, Carbon Mapper announced their intention to launch an airborne methane surveys in the Latin America region. These flights are intended to offer near-term support for country specific initiatives to improve methane accounting and inform mitigation efforts. Tackling global methane emissions are critical if we hope to achieve the goals of the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions 30% compared to 2020 by 2030. Additionally, according to the UN Environmental Program, by reducing methane emissions the Latin American region can mitigate air quality issues, ease warming, and reduce food insecurity.

The following infographic, Methane Mitigation Measures in Latin America and the Caribbean created by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition highlights which sectors and measures have the best potential for mitigating methane emissions in the region, and the percentage of country level emissions reductions possible by 2050, compared to a business-as-usual scenario.

There is ample evidence that making invisible emissions visible can drive mitigation action. In Latin America and elsewhere there is a critical need and opportunity to use advanced methane data to accelerate methane action globally at the scale of individual facilities in sectors such as energy and waste. A key first step in implementing effective policies to reduce methane emissions is knowing where emissions are and diagnosing the root-causes for high emitting events.

Carbon Mapper is proposing to partner with governments and other key public and private stakeholders across Latin America to jointly leverage remote sensing technologies to conduct aerial flights over sources of methane emissions. Potential priority sectors include managed landfills, unmanaged waste dumps, and organic processing facilities, wastewater treatment plants, oil and gas production, coal mining, gas transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure, refineries, coal and gas-fired power plants, and LNG terminals. This collaboration would help national governments, sub-national agencies, companies, and other decision makers to:

  • Conduct baseline surveys of high emission methane point sources across key regions and sectors;
  • Pinpoint facility-level and equipment specific emission sources, helping operators prioritize cost-effective opportunities;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of—and help improve—selected emissions reduction strategies;
  • Contribute quantitative emission data to help national and sub-national governments and facility operators evaluate and improve emission factors for inventories;
  • Better position governments and industries to align with and shape evolving global climate policies, support engagement with foreign markets, and help inform investments to promote climate-focused solutions for industrial processes; and build ongoing partnerships focused on leveraging remote sensing technologies to improve emissions quantification and mitigation for years ahead.

For the proposed Latin America methane surveys, Carbon Mapper plans to fund airborne surveys using NASA’s next generation airborne visible infrared imaging spectrometer (AVIRIS-NG). Surveys will focus on Global Methane Pledge member countries between December 2022 and February 2023, contingent on completing the necessary diplomatic and flight clearance approvals for each country. Carbon Mapper staff will gather and process resulting data, delivering insights, and coordinating with collaborating organizations.

For more information or to express interest in participating in this campaign, please contact Carbon Mapper.