The effect plasma–chemical treatments of 5 wt % Co/SiO2 catalyst have on its activity in the carbonic acid conversion of methane in the interval of 700 to 900°C is studied. A plasma glow discharge in oxygen and argon was used along with high-frequency plasma in hydrogen for preliminary treatment of the catalyst. A multiple increase in CH4 and CO2 conversion and a 30–50 K drop in the temperature of the onset of the reaction are observed after plasma–chemical treatments. The strongest increase in activity is measured after the catalyst is treated with oxygen plasma. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy is used to determine the change in the composition of the catalyst’s surface after it is treated with plasma, indicating that active forms of carbon atoms can be included in new active centers. © 2017, Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.