The United States and the European Union today announced the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions that will be launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November at Glasgow. President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged countries in the US-led Major Economies Energy and Climate Forum to join the pledge and praised those who have already expressed their support.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, accounts for about half of the net 1.0 degree Celsius increase in global average temperature. since the pre-industrial era. The rapid reduction in methane emissions is complementary to action on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and is considered the most effective strategy to reduce global warming in the short term and maintain the target. to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius at hand.
Countries joining the Global Methane Pledge commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030 and moving towards the use of best methodologies inventory available to quantify methane emissions, with particular emphasis on high emission sources. Meeting this pledge would reduce warming by at least 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050. Countries have widely varying methane emission profiles and reduction potential, but all can contribute to the global target. collective thanks to an additional national reduction of methane and international cooperation actions. The main sources of methane emissions are oil and gas, coal, agriculture and landfills. These sectors have different starting points and varying short-term methane reduction potential with the greatest potential for targeted mitigation by 2030 in the energy sector.
Reducing methane provides important additional benefits, including improved public health and agricultural productivity. According to the Global Methane Assessment of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), meeting the 2030 target can prevent more than 200,000 premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of asthma-related emergency room visits and over 20 million tonnes of crop losses per year by 2030 by reducing ground-level ozone pollution caused in part by methane.
The European Union and eight countries have already indicated their support for the Global Methane Pledge. These countries account for six of the top 15 emitters of methane in the world and together account for more than a fifth of global methane emissions and almost half of the world economy.
The European Union has been taking action to reduce its methane emissions for almost three decades. The European Commission strategy adopted in 1996 made it possible to reduce methane emissions from landfills by almost half. As part of the European Green Deal, and to support the European Union’s commitment to climate neutrality by 2050, the European Union adopted in October 2020 a strategy aimed at reducing methane emissions in all key sectors covering energy, agriculture and waste. Reducing methane emissions over the current decade is an important part of the European Union’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. This year, the European Commission will propose legislation to measure, report and verify methane emissions. , impose limits on ventilation and flaring, and impose requirements for detecting and repairing leaks. The European Commission is also working to accelerate the adoption of mitigation technologies through the wider deployment of ‘carbon agriculture’ in European Union member states and through their common agricultural policy strategic plans, and to promote the production of biomethane from agricultural waste and residues. Finally, the European Commission is supporting UNEP in the creation of an International Independent Observatory of Methane Emissions (IMEO) to address the lack of global data and transparency in this area, including through a financial contribution. IMEO will play an important role in creating a solid scientific basis for methane emissions calculations and achieving the Global Methane Pledge in this regard.
The United States is pursuing significant methane reductions on several fronts. In response to an executive order that President Biden issued on the first day of his presidency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is promulgating new regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. At the same time, the EPA has taken steps to implement stricter pollution standards for landfills, and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration continues to take steps that will reduce methane leaks from pipelines and related facilities. At the President’s request and in partnership with U.S. farmers and ranchers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to dramatically expand voluntary adoption of climate-smart farming practices that will reduce methane emissions from sources agriculture by encouraging the deployment of improved manure management systems. , anaerobic digesters, novel animal feeds, composting and other practices. The US Congress is considering additional funding that would support many of these efforts. Among the proposals submitted to Congress, for example, is a major initiative to plug and repair orphaned and abandoned oil, gas and coal wells and mines, which would significantly reduce methane emissions. In addition, the United States continues to support concerted international methane mitigation efforts, particularly through its leadership under the Global Methane Initiative and CCAC.
The European Union and eight countries have already indicated their support for the Global Methane Pledge:
- European Union
- United States
The United States, the European Union and other early supporters will continue to recruit other countries to join the Global Methane Pledge pending its official launch at COP 26.