Methane Pollution Prevention
The impacts of climate change are here.
If we don’t slow warming, we may reach irreversible ecological tipping points.
Immediate reduction of methane pollution is “first aid” that can help us avoid near-term and irreversible impacts and reduce the rate of warming. 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
Sign up today to receive the latest content from CATF experts.
Catalyze deep, global reductions in methane and black carbon emissions to help stave off 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 initiatives 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 more than half a degree Celsius of warming along with numerous other public health and ecological benefits. CATF’s efforts target two of the most concerning short-lived climate pollutants: methane and black carbon. Because these pollutants have a much shorter atmospheric lifespan than carbon dioxide, significant cuts in their emissions will yield much faster reductions in planetary warming, as compared to reductions in carbon dioxide.
CATF is actively advocating for methane emissions reductions in international and domestic venues, supporting scientific research, promoting policy initiatives, encouraging the development of financial incentives for pollution controls where appropriate, and championing and defending standards that can dramatically reduce emissions of these significant climate pollutants. 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.
Reducing methane and black carbon emissions from the fossil fuel sector offers one of the most promising targets for immediate cleanup through low-cost solutions and readily implementable policy changes. Immediate reductions in these pollutants across sectors, including fossil fuels, agriculture, and waste are “first aid” for the planet that can help us avoid near-term and irreversible impacts and reduce the rate of warming.
Scope of Work
- Research & Analysis: CATF investigates and reports on the negative health and environmental impacts of super pollutants. 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 both in the U.S. as well as internationally. CATF works across sectors, including the oil and gas sector as there is potential for significant reductions in emissions by 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 super pollutant 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.
- Moved black carbon and methane into mainstream of global environmental campaigning.
- Helped enact first-ever emission standards on ocean-going ships at the International Maritime Organization.
- 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.
- Put super pollutant emission reductions at the center of climate discussions at the Arctic Council.
- Launched and led an eight-year U.S. Diesel Clean-Up Campaign resulting in many state and federal initiatives including emission limits and over $2 billion in funding that today is substantially reducing U.S. diesel emissions.
- Catalyzed formation of the U.S. Methane Partners Campaign in 2014, which secured first-ever U.S. federal methane pollution standards for the oil and gas industry in 2016. In 2021, they successfully advocated for restoring those 2016 standards under the Congressional Review Act.
- Supported adoption of strong, nationwide oil and gas methane standards in Mexico and Canada.
- Supported the successful launch of the Global Methane Pledge in 2021, with more than 100 countries participating.
What is methane pollution?
Reducing methane pollution is the fastest way to slow global warming and avoid near-term and
irreversible impacts such as collapsing glaciers.
See what we’re working on
Oil and Gas
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.
Methane Mitigation Program
Compared to other climate change solutions, methane mitigation from the oil and gas sector is relatively cheap. Some measures actually save money, when the extra revenue from selling gas that would otherwise be released into the air is factored in. The biggest mitigation opportunities, of course, are the largest emitters.
Learn more about the mitigation program and opportunities.
Other Sources of Methane
While the oil and gas industry is the number one industrial source of methane pollution, reductions in other sectors are not only economically justified but critical to realize necessary emission reductions. Substantial emissions also come from agriculture, dams, coal mining operations, landfills, and wastewater treatment. CATF has worked to develop an understanding of methane emissions from these other sources including technologies and best practices and the barriers to using them, and we work to develop and implement policy and regulatory solutions 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.
Currently, CATF is working to reduce black carbon emissions from the shipping sector and is committed to securing a legally binding phase out of the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic waters. This effort is particularly critical given the rapid rate of warming in the Arctic and the numerous threats that the use of HFO as bunker fuel poses to the Arctic region.
Learn more about our shipping work