Comprendre les enjeux de l'agriculture

Methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, is now responsible for a significant part of the global temperature surge. While it receives less media attention than CO2, urgent measures are necessary to reduce methane emissions.

Sources and Impact of Methane Emissions

Methane is produced by both natural and anthropogenic sources. It naturally emanates from wetlands, aided by termites and volcanic eruptions. However, the bulk of methane emissions are due to human activities, primarily agriculture, waste management, and the fossil fuel industry.

In agriculture, the main source of CO2 emissions is the enteric fermentation of ruminants and manure management. The second source of methane emissions comes from the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste in landfills.

Methane’s impact on the environment is far from symbolic, despite its relatively low concentration in the air: today, methane’s global warming potential is about 84 times higher than that of CO2. Methane is responsible for 30% of the increase in global warming. Methane also degrades into tropospheric ozone, a dangerous pollutant for humans.

Methane Emission Reduction Strategies

In this respect, the adoption of specific technologies for capturing and eliminating methane in high-emission countries is urgent.

Waste collection has significantly improved. Notably, the sorting of organic waste and the production of biogas are on the rise, quickly increasing the number of new biogas capture units and transforming emission sites into sources of renewable energy.

In livestock management, adding dietary additives such as flaxseed or seaweed to the diet of ruminants can significantly reduce methane emissions. Additionally, waste management and manure composting practices can limit the amount of methane released.

Industrial energy efficiency, i.e., the detection and repair of natural gas leaks using advanced technologies and the use of modern technologies in production, are essential to drastically reduce emissions. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the main source of methane.

MethaneSat, a Revolution in Methane Emission Monitoring

In a world where environmental concerns are escalating, a new satellite, MethaneSat, promises to revolutionize how we measure and manage methane emissions globally. This technological marvel, the size of a household appliance, will provide us with an unprecedented perspective on methane.

MethaneSat is primarily aimed at mapping methane leaks from the oil and gas industries. This cutting-edge technology arrives at a critical time, as demonstrated by the recent crisis in Kazakhstan, where a massive leak released 127,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere.

Despite these advances, there are several challenges, including the high initial cost of various methane reduction technologies, uncertainty about complex emission sources, and regulations. Better coordination between government, entrepreneurs, and civil society is essential. For instance, incentive regulation policies such as subsidies and tax incentives are powerful levers to encourage investments.