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U.S. and EU introduce Global Methane Pledge to cut methane

September 17, 2021 Work Area: Methane

U.S. President Joe Biden and EU President Ursula von der Leyen introduced today a landmark new Global Methane Pledge to collectively reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. Sarah Smith, Program Director, Super Pollutants calls the pledge “a tremendous display of ambition, and a clear sign that some world leaders now recognize the urgent need to rein in methane pollution.”

The Global Methane Pledge is the first ever global political commitment recognizing the dangers to the climate from methane, a greenhouse gas some 80 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year period. With complementary global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide, the pledge’s ambitions are in line with what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) have found is necessary to keep global warming from exceeding 1.5°C and to help avoid dangerous climate tipping points.

President Biden and President von der Leyen announced the Global Methane Pledge today as part of a meeting of major economies. More countries are encouraged to join the pledge leading up to its formal launch at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland this November.

Smith continued:

“The science tells us we have vanishingly little time left to slow global warming before we permanently alter our environment. The fastest way to pump the brakes is to reduce methane pollution, and the newly introduced Global Methane Pledge is a welcome step toward doing just that. We commend the ambition of each country that has signed the pledge and urge those that haven’t yet to join this critical collective effort. Climate change is a global crisis, and we can only address it with a rapid, global response.”

The pledge comes as countries face increasing pressure to reduce methane emissions, especially from their domestic oil and gas industries. The IPCC’s recent AR6 report clearly identified methane pollution as a key driver of global warming, and groups including CATF have documented extensive methane pollution from oil and gas sites in the United States, European Union, Latin America, and Africa – including in countries that have signed the Global Methane Pledge.

“It’s fantastic to see countries with such a critical role to play in reducing methane emissions sign onto the Global Methane Pledge,” said Smith, “and that display of ambition must be followed by immediate action. That includes comprehensive standards to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas sector, at every site, everywhere. The U.S., UK, and EU have shown real leadership in rallying countries around this pledge, and they must continue that leadership by setting strong methane standards of their own.”

European Union: The Pledge comes a few months ahead of the European Commission’s policy announcement on Reducing Methane Emissions in the Energy Sector. This will be a key part of the second round of Fit For 55 announcements scheduled for December. Jonathan Banks, International Director, Super Pollutants said, “With this new international baseline, the EU must put in place a comprehensive policy framework that addresses methane emissions from oil & gas consumed within its borders.”

United States: “As the U.S. EPA develops updated methane rules for the oil and gas sector, the Agency has a critical opportunity to take a big step toward globally leading methane standards and implementation of the Global Methane Pledge,” said Smith. CATF has developed a blueprint for reducing methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas sector 65% using currently available technology and at little to no cost to industry.

CATF works with national governments, NGOs and industry leaders to put robust implementation plans in place to quickly cut methane pollution and looks forward to working with countries eager to put their ambition into practice.

Banks, continued, “Countries like Nigeria, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia the EU and the U.S. are taking concrete steps on methane with the support of CATF. This announcement provides a clear indication of which way the wind is blowing, and we expect more countries to follow suit. For countries that haven’t yet committed to cutting methane emissions, COP26 will be the right moment to join this international movement, and we stand ready to work with countries as they look at how they can best contribute to this global goal. Our climate cannot afford further delay on methane.”

CATF can supply video and still imagery of methane plumes and oil and gas facilities.

Press Contacts

North America: Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, U.S., [email protected], +1 845-750-1189

Europe: Rowan Emslie, Communications Director, EU, [email protected], +32 476-97-36-42

About Clean Air Task Force

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. We work towards these objectives through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector. With nearly 25 years of nationally and internationally recognized expertise on clean air policy and regulations and a fierce commitment to fully exploring all potential solutions, CATF is an environmental advocacy group with the bold ideas needed today to solve the climate crisis. CATF is headquartered in Boston, with staff working virtually around the U.S. and abroad.

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