10th of March, 2022: Policy Implications of a Global Assessment of Oil and Gas Methane Ultra-Emitters – Professor Philippe Ciais


Methane emissions from oil and gas (O&G) production and transmission represent a significant contribution to climate change. These emissions comprise sporadic releases of large amounts of methane during maintenance operations or equipment failures not accounted for in current inventory estimates. We collected and analyzed hundreds of very large releases from atmospheric methane images sampled by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) over 2019 and 2020 to quantify emissions from O&G ultra-emitters.

Ultra-emitters are primarily detected over the largest O&G basins of the world, following a power-law relationship with noticeable variations across countries but similar regression slopes. With a total contribution equivalent to 8-12% of the global O&G production methane emissions, mitigation of ultra-emitters is largely achievable at low costs and would lead to robust net benefits in billions of US dollars for the six major producing countries when incorporating recent estimates of societal costs of methane.

About the Speaker

Philippe Ciais is research director at Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement in France and professor at The Cyprus Institute. He studied theoretical physics at Ecole Normale Supérieure, received a PhD on ice core climate reconstruction, and was a post-doctoral fellow at NOAA in Boulder, USA.

His research focuses on the quantification and understanding of the global terrestrial carbon sink in the recent decades and on the forecast of its future evolution, using atmospheric in-situ measurements, satellite observations and dynamic vegetation models. Author of 997 peer-reviewed publications, including many in high-profile journals, P. Ciais is a highly cited scientist in the fields of Geosciences and Ecology, and was ranked as the top most productive scientist in climate change research. He co-chaired the Global Carbon Project and acted as Convening Lead Author in the 5th IPCC Assessment Report, for the Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles. P. Ciais is a member of the French Academy of Science and foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEY-YXjKqfM