Atmospheric Methane Removal

Supporting the healthy development of an emerging, potentially high-impact, climate field.

Atmospheric methane removal approaches are being researched to determine how methane, once in the atmosphere, can be broken down faster than with existing natural systems alone to help lower peak temperatures, and counteract some of the impact of large-scale natural systems methane releases.

Why is it Important?

Rising temperatures are increasing the risk of natural systems releasing methane, which would drive further warming.

Existing and expanding efforts towards reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removing atmospheric carbon dioxide are crucial, but may be insufficient to maximally decrease the chance of, and then possible impact of, these risks.

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What are the possible approaches?

Atmospheric methane removal approaches could help further mitigate climate risk, but are in early stages of research today.

Should any atmospheric methane removal approaches prove highly scalable, effective and safe, they could rapidly reduce warming once deployed at scale, helping to address some of the current 0.5°C—and rising—of methane-driven warming. All proposed atmospheric methane removal technologies are at a very early stage today: some ideas have been proposed, some are being researched in laboratories, but none are ready for deployment. Spark believes that accelerating research to develop and assess which, if any, of these technologies have the potential to be effective, safe, and scalable is crucial in building out the global climate risk management portfolio.

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"Although existing methane mitigation approaches are needed globally, temperature stabilization by mid-century may also require new greenhouse gas removal technologies.... Beyond anthropogenic emissions, we also cannot ignore the possibility of accelerated methane release from natural systems, such as widespread permafrost thaw or release of methane hydrates from coastal systems in the Arctic. Such Earth-system feedbacks could require methane removal to offset releases even if anthropogenic emissions are reduced substantially."

Jackson et al. 2021 “Atmospheric methane removal: a research agenda”

Spark is working to support the growth of robust atmospheric methane removal research, towards independent scientific determination what approaches may be available, and ensure that any future solutions are appropriately integrated into the climate response ecosystem.

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Our current priorities

Accelerating the rate of scientific progress on advancing and assessing possible atmospheric methane removal approaches.

Through directly funding research, organizing research workshops and convenings, direct researcher engagement, writing academic papers, and educating public agencies around the value and opportunities in atmospheric methane research, Spark is working to grow the scientific field of atmospheric methane removal to identify new possible approaches, and make further scientific progress on those we're aware of.

Atmospheric Methane Research Funding Opportunities
Read the Atmospheric Methane Removal Primer
Supporting the establishment of governance structures and mechanisms for emerging approaches.

As atmospheric methane removal approaches are developed, society will need to make decisions around how they might be tested, and then possibly, later deployed. Spark is working with partners to lay the groundwork for how these decisions might be made in the future.

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Why Atmospheric Methane Removal?

Why researching atmospheric methane removal is an important climate response area.

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Potential Approaches

Learn more about potential approaches that are being evaluated for atmospheric methane removal.

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Principles

Principles in building the atmospheric methane removal field.

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Latest Updates

Open Roles In This Area

We're looking for talented, strategic, climate-motivated, and scientifically-driven colleagues to join our team at Spark, across a number of areas, including the following roles related to the Methane Removal program:

Program Lead, Atmospheric Methane

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