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Methane flare

Methane finance and decarbonization breakthrough in first week of COP28 

December 2, 2023 Work Area: Methane

DUBAI – World leaders today announced a new grant funding of over $1 billion aimed at tackling methane emissions from all sectors and a new alliance to accelerate the decarbonization of the oil and gas sector.  

“There has been a fundamental mismatch between the importance of cutting methane emissions, the opportunity it presents to bend the curve on climate, and the funding available to do it – today’s announcements are a step towards remedying that mismatch,” said Jonathan Banks, Global Director, Methane Pollution Prevention at Clean Air Task Force. “Rapidly reducing methane emissions is required to keep global climate goals within reach, and it’s the best way climate funders can maximize the return on their investments in terms of degrees of warming avoided in the next 20 years.” 

At today’s high level methane summit, governments, philanthropies, and the private sector announced over $1 billion in new funding for methane reduction as part of the Methane Finance Sprint.  This is a massive increase in funding that could leverage additional funding for projects to mitigate methane in the waste, oil and gas, coal and agriculture sectors. The funding will be administered by a number of different entities including the World Bank, the Global Methane Hub, and the Inter-American, among others.  

At the same event, the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter was announced, a new agreement on methane mitigation and reporting efforts that includes dozens of National Oil Companies and International Oil Companies. 

“The launch of the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter marks an important first step toward increasing transparency, accountability, and leadership on climate action from the oil and gas sector — and a welcome sign of ambition on important measures like methane mitigation and carbon capture deployment,” said Lee Beck, Senior Director, Europe and Middle East at Clean Air Task Force. “With oil and gas generating 80% of the world’s final energy, there is an urgent need to mitigate the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions while we transition our broader energy system. It’s encouraging to see so many NOCs in particular, alongside IOCs demonstrating their commitment to that effort.” 

Beck continued: “We encourage future COP presidencies to formalize this arrangement — and hope to see formal agreements with concrete frameworks for accountability and accounting in the future.” 

“COP28 is all about turning ambition into tangible climate action, and tackling methane is the best strategy we have to slow climate change in the next two decades,” continued Banks. “Providing much needed funding is a great step – but we’re also looking for more detailed technical and regulatory commitments, particularly in the oil and gas sector. The UAE has an opportunity to leverage its position within that sector to engage international and national oil and gas companies to take a strong stance on reducing methane emissions, eliminating flaring, and the longer-term transition toward a decarbonized energy system 

Methane is over 80 times more potent than CO2 during the first 20 years in the atmosphere, and methane emissions are rapidly rising. So too, has recognition of the issue. In 2021, the Global Methane Pledge reached 150 country signatories — including nearly 100 countries eligible for overseas development assistance — all committing to reduce collective methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. And earlier this year, countries and philanthropic organizations announced the Methane Finance Sprint, committing to raise at least $200 million in new funds for methane mitigation by COP28 – a target they have far exceeded. 

In a first-of-its-kind report released earlier this year, Clean Air Task Force examined barriers standing in the way of critical funding for global methane mitigation and lays out recommendations for both funders and recipients to establish and execute this important climate funding stream. 

Leading climate scientists and modelers have found that reducing methane pollution is the best way to reduce the amount of global warming the world will experience in the next 20 to 30 years, a critical timeframe for avoiding potentially irreversible climate tipping points. Using currently available technologies, methane emissions can be cut by at least 45% by 2030, enough to avoid 0.3 °C of warming by the 2040s. However, without adequate funding, particularly for mitigation in developing nations, deployment of these solutions will fall short. 

Press Contacts

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, [email protected], +1 845-750-1189 

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

About Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world.   

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