Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. The radiative forcing caused by methane contributes significantly to the warming of the atmosphere. To better understand the complex global Methane Cycle, it is necessary to apply space-based measurements techniques in order to obtain global coverage at high precision The Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission (MERLIN) is a joint French-German cooperation on a micro satellite mission for space-based measurement of spatial and temporal gradients of atmospheric methane columns on a global scale. MERLIN will be the first Integrated Path Differential Absorption LIDAR for methane monitoring from space. In contrast to passive methane missions, the LIDAR instrument allows to retrieve methane fluxes at all-latitudes, allseasons and during night as it is not relying on sunlight. First scientific studies show a substantial reduction of the prior methane flux uncertainties in key observational regions when using synthetic MERLIN observations in the flux inversion experiments. Furthermore, MERLIN observations can help to quantify and verify in scientific credible way national emission reduction scenarios as formulated in the Kyoto protocol. This paper reports on the present status of MERLIN and gives an overview on the joint mission concept with the German LIDAR on the French satellite platform MYRIADE.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.