Methane Pollution Prevention
The impacts of climate change are here.
If we don’t slow warming, we risk pushing the planet past potentially irreversible tipping points.
Immediate reduction of methane pollution is the best strategy we have to reduce the rate of global warming right now. Alongside significant, sustained reductions in carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions, reducing methane emissions is a key part of the foundation for any successful climate strategy.
The latest on methane
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Catalyze deep, global reductions in methane emissions to reduce near-term warming and protect against the risk of irreversible changes to our climate
CATF advocates for super pollutant emissions reductions like methane around the world by supporting scientific research, promoting policy initiatives, encouraging the development of financial incentives for pollution controls, and championing and defending standards that can dramatically reduce emissions.
Our impact on preventing methane pollution
CATF’s methane efforts are aimed at reducing pollutants that will have the greatest impact on warming the planet over the near-term and offer the most promising targets for immediate cleanup. Taken together, efforts to reduce methane emissions globally could prevent .3 degrees Celsius of warming along with numerous other public health and ecological benefits. Because methane has a much shorter atmospheric lifespan than carbon dioxide, significant cuts in its emissions will yield much faster reductions in planetary warming, as compared to reductions in carbon dioxide.
CATF is actively advocating for methane emissions reductions at the international, national, and sub-national level, supporting scientific research and innovation, promoting policy initiatives, encouraging the development of financial mechanisms, and championing and defending standards that can dramatically reduce emissions. CATF’s three primary strategies include:
- Strengthening ongoing policy advocacy to reduce methane and black carbon at the regional, national, and subnational levels;
- Developing cross-cutting capacity to accelerate multinational action, including funding mechanisms to help developing countries achieve their emissions reduction goals and research capacity to identify promising solutions for large, neglected emissions sources;
- Supporting high-level political commitments to create the needed momentum to spur emissions reductions at scale.
Rapid reductions in methane emissions, from energy, waste and agriculture are the only way to dramatically reduce the rate of global warming, with the potential to reduce warming by .3 degrees Celsius in less than two decades.
Scope of Work
- Research & Analysis: CATF investigates and reports on the negative health and environmental impacts of methane emissions. CATF also evaluates available emission control technologies and techniques to formulate best practices for controlling emissions and create tools for regulators.
- Policy Advocacy: CATF works to develop and implement policy and regulatory solutions for cutting methane emissions that can be applied around the world. CATF works across sectors, implementing policies that are based on common sense practices and low-cost emission control measures.
- Education & Outreach: CATF plays a lead role in several coalitions focused on methane emission cuts, engaging in public education and stakeholder outreach. CATF leads workshops and events to educate other NGOs, governing bodies, industry leaders, and other key allies around the world on the impacts of methane and the best policies and practices for reducing emissions.
- Litigation: CATF attorneys represent other NGO client organizations in judicial proceedings and CATF provides expert legal and technical input to the U.S. EPA, Bureau of Land Management, and other regulatory bodies on their super pollutant policies.
- Catalyzed action on methane by supporting the launch of the Global Methane Pledge in 2021, fostering participation of over 150 nations to date.
- Worked alongside policymakers to include key provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act which aims to cut methane pollution from the oil and gas sector by, among other actions, imposing a charge on emissions above a certain amount, bringing the United States a giant step closer to achieving its climate goals under the Paris Agreement.
- Raised awareness through our #CutMethaneEU campaign on methane emissions in the EU, helping drive forward the development of EU methane policies and the potential for the world’s first methane import standard.
- Successfully advocated for strong, nationwide oil and gas methane regulations in Mexico and Canada.
- Fostered capacity building and knowledge sharing on the methane issue, paving the way for Colombia’s landmark accomplishment of finalizing flaring and fugitive emissions regulations in 2022, the first in South America.
- Set the stage for policy development in Nigeria through collaboration, resulting in the first regulations to curb methane emissions in the energy sector on the continent.
- Spurred creation of the global Climate & Clean Air Coalition to drive national action and provide technical assistance for key super pollutant emission reductions. In 2021, Clean Air Task Force’s Super Pollutants Program Director was elected to the Board of Directors.
- Helped secure, and defend in court, the first-ever nationally applicable methane standards for new oil and gas sources in the U.S.
- Successfully advocated in 2021 for restoring those 2016 standards by way of a Congressional Review Act that re-instated parts of the 2016 standards that were rescinded at the end of the Trump Administration.
- Continues to help lead the push in the U.S. on strengthening methane standards for the oil and gas sector and extending them to new and existing sources, with a final rule expected in 2023.
What is methane pollution?
Reducing methane pollution is the fastest way to slow global warming and avoid near-term and
potentially irreversible climate tipping points.
See what we’re working on
Oil and Gas Methane
Emissions from fossil fuel production and transport — especially methane released from oil and gas wells and the processing and transport of natural gas — account for a great deal of climate-warming pollution. Every year, oil and gas companies leak, flare, and vent billions of dollars worth of natural gas, containing methane, whether domestically or internationally. Thus, CATF’s methane work seeks to significantly slash as well as prevent increases in methane emissions from oil and gas development. In countries where development is likely to begin or expand, CATF aims to ensure that environmental impacts are minimized through the application of modern technologies and practices and the regulatory knowledge developed over the last 20 years.
Waste Sector Methane
Waste is the world’s third-largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions, accounting for 20% of the global total with the majority stemming from solid waste decaying in dumpsites and landfills. Waste methane emissions are tightly tied to growth and development in much of the world and are projected to increase significantly without fast action. CATF is working to help governments around the world understand and prioritize the waste sector in methane mitigation plans and goals.
Learn more about our waste sector methane work.
Other Sources of Methane
While the oil and gas industry and the waste sector are two of the biggest sources of methane pollution, reductions in other sectors are not only economically justified but critical to realize the full climate benefit of methane mitigation. Substantial emissions also come from agriculture and coal mining operations. CATF is working to develop innovative solutions, financial mechanisms, and policies that can be applied both in the U.S. as well as internationally.
Learn more about other sources of methane
Country Methane Abatement Tool (CoMAT)
CATF’s Country Methane Abatement Tool (CoMAT) lets countries estimate how much methane pollution they can reduce from their oil and gas industries even when they have limited information about the industry and its current emissions.