California proposes $100 million to tackle methane emissions through remote sensing

by CCAC secretariat - 24 May, 2022
Longstanding CCAC partner California looks to expand the use of satellite remote-sensing technology to observe and reduce methane emissions

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a new budget proposal which would allocate USD $100 million to tackle methane emissions. The program would generate data which would allow California to detect methane leaks remotely using remote sensing technology and allow the state to take swift action to stop leaks and hold polluters accountable. If approved, this proposal could help California, the world’s fifth largest economy, dramatically cut methane emissions, tackle the climate crisis, and protect communities from dangerous air pollution.

“Cutting methane and other short-lived climate pollutants is our best option to slow climate change and keep us below 1.5°C. In this new budget proposal, California continues to demonstrate leadership on climate by acting decisively to reduce methane, which will protect both people and the planet,” said Martina Otto, Head of Secretariat, Climate & Clean Air Coalition. 

Methane is one of the fastest growing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and is 86 times more potent than CO2 in raising global temperatures. The proposal emphasizes that reaching carbon neutrality will require addressing all GHG emissions as quickly as possible, particularly short-lived climate pollutants such as methane. Reducing methane emissions, as Governor Newsom’s budget proposal notes, also significantly improves local air quality, particularly important for disadvantaged communities.

The State already has legislation in place to reduce California’s methane emissions, including a regulatory framework to phase out short-lived climate pollutants (SB1383). Research has shown that a significant portion of methane emissions occur at specific sites, and the State’s findings show that “between 50 and 60% of emissions are unintentional and fixable [and that] frequent measurements are necessary.” 
The proposal refers to and highlights the importance of the Global Methane Pledge, signed in 2021 by over 100 countries that have collectively committed to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030, and cites the UNEP-convened CCAC’s Global Methane Assessment Report, indicating that a 40-45% reduction in methane emission by 2030 is both possible and necessary to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

Read more about Governor Newsom’s new budget proposal here.