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. MARS is a new satellite-based system will now help governments detect methane emissions and tackle them.



As part of global efforts to slow climate change by tackling methane, the UN announced a new satellite-based system to detect emissions of the climate warming gas and allow governments and businesses to respond.


About the MARS initiative

  • MARS is a data-to-action. It was set up as part of the UN Environment Programmes (UNEP) International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) strategy to get policy-relevant data into the right hands for emissions mitigation.
  • The system will be the first publicly available global system to connect methane detection to notification processes.
    • It will use state-of-the-art satellite data to identify significant emission events, notify relevant stakeholders, and support and track mitigation progress.
  • MARS has been developed in the framework of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway – with initial funding from the European Commission, the US Government and other stakeholders.
    • In June 2022, the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) Energy Pathway was launched.
    • It was launched with an aim to catalyse methane emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector, advancing both climate progress and energy security.
    • The GMP Energy Pathway aims to encourage all nations to —
      • Capture the maximum potential of cost-effective methane mitigation in the oil and gas sector, and
      • Eliminate routine flaring as soon as possible, and no later than 2030.
  • MARS will be implemented with partners including the International Energy Agency, and the UNEP-hosted Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
  • Working of MARS —
      • Beginning with very large point sources from the energy sector, MARS will integrate data from the rapidly expanding system of methane-detecting satellites to include lower-emitting area sources and more frequent detection.
        • Data on coal, waste, livestock and rice will be added gradually to MARS to support Global Methane Pledge implementation.
      • MARS will use data from global mapping satellites to identify very large methane plumes and methane hot spots and data from high-resolution satellites to attribute the emissions to a specific source.
      • UNEP will then notify governments and companies about the emissions, either directly or through partners, so that the responsible entity can take appropriate action.
      • If requested, MARS partners will provide technical or advisory services such as help in assessing mitigation opportunities.
      • 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.