Turkmenistan working to fix large methane leaks
The plan being put in place will help the country join the 150 countries that have signed the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
Turkmenistan's president has initiated two measures targeted at reducing massive methane leakage from the country's oil and gas industry, which if successful, would be a significant step forward in addressing the climate catastrophe.
The plan would pave the way for the Central Asian country to join the 150 other countries that have already signed the Global Methane Pledge, which commits to reducing global methane emissions by 30% by 2030. An inter-departmental government panel will also work to reduce the country's methane emissions.
Methane emissions currently account for 25% of global warming. Experts say this jump since 2007 may be the most severe threat to keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius and gravely risking catastrophic climatic tipping points. Combating leaks at fossil fuel installations is the quickest, easiest, and least expensive strategy to reduce methane emissions.
According to The Guardian, Turkmenistan was responsible for the most methane "super-emitter" incidents in the world in 2022. The worst leak resulted in climate pollution equal to the pace of emissions from 67 million motor vehicles. The United States and Russia both also had a high number of super-emitter incidents.
Manfredi Caltagirone, head of the UN’s International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) stated that the effort to assist Turkmenistan is "very encouraging" and that authorities are very responsive.
“But after the announcements, the real work starts to actually cut emissions,” adding that "oerators in Turkmenistan need to perform measurements on each of their assets, report transparently and mitigate effectively.”
The observatory head stated that the IMEO and the UN office in Turkmenistan were prepared to increase their assistance.
During a cabinet meeting on June 10, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov approved the methane plan for 2023-2024. Sources informed The Guardian say that Berdimuhamedov made it clear that Turkmenistan will continue to contribute to regional and global environmental collaborations in whatever manner feasible. Berdimuhamedov stated during the UN climate summit Cop26 in Glasgow in 2021 that Turkmenistan was lowering greenhouse gas emissions “by introducing modern technologies in all spheres of the state’s economy”, with “special attention” paid to methane emissions.
The Guardian's study of satellite data revealed a minimal change in Turkmenistan's methane emissions between 2019 and 2022. According to scientists who conducted a recent study on 29 super-emitter incidents between 2017 and 2020, the more frequent emitters were already in "conflict with Turkmen law."