HKS Affiliated Authors


February 8, 2023, Audio: "Harvard Kennedy School Professor Robert Stavins and Professor Daniel Jacob of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are at the forefront of new efforts to monitor and control methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Methane didn’t use to seem like such a big deal. It was that other climate gas, the one that was the butt of cow flatulence jokes and that only stayed in the atmosphere for a decade or so. But since important global warming targets are now just seven years away and science has developed a better understanding of both methane’s pervasiveness and its potent role in warming the atmosphere, it’s now very much on the front burner for increasingly concerned climate policymakers. The good news is that the science of monitoring methane emissions has taken huge leaps forward recently, thanks to advances in supercomputing, weather modeling, and satellite imaging, to the point where we could soon have daily real-time monitoring and measuring of methane emissions around the globe. Our two guests are playing an important role in that effort. Robert  Stavins is an economist and the director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Project and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. Daniel Jacob was named the world’s top environmental scientist last year by, and his groundbreaking work has been instrumental in creating methane monitoring systems so precise they can track emissions to a specific company or another individual source—from space. Both say that the need to address the methane issue is urgent and that the countries of the world now have the wherewithal to get methane emissions under control. There are hopeful signs, including a major international agreement called the Global Methane Pledge, but the big question will be whether global leaders have the will to follow through." Listen Via Policycast