Open Letter: Leading NGOs call on European member states to back methane regulation
Ahead of a crucial decision by the Council of the European Union, 10 leading NGOs have raised serious concerns about the watering down of the EU Methane Regulation by member states. While some of these concerns have already been reflected in media coverage, the letter makes detailed policy recommendations and highlights serious flaws evident in the most recent draft from the Council.
A year ago, the European Commission put out its first ever EU-wide proposal to deal with methane emissions. It was a part of a breakthrough moment for methane campaigners, a few weeks after methane had made it to the mainstage at COP26 in Glasgow and more than 100 world leaders committed to the Global Methane Pledge that set a collaborative international target for methane, the long overlooked ‘other’ greenhouse gas.
12 months on, that moment has turned into momentum. At COP27 in Egypt, we saw a plethora of announcements. Over 150 countries now support the pledge and 95% of nationally determined contributions include methane in their greenhouse gas target or will by their next revision. More than 50 countries have National Methane Action Plans or are working to develop one. Canada, Nigeria, and the United States announced far-reaching regulations or regulatory pathways that include ambitious new plans like monthly leak detection and repair inspections at all oil and gas facilities, replacing vent-by-design equipment within a few years, and a fee on methane emissions.
A new bar has been set for methane action. The EU’s proposed Methane Regulation does not look quite as impressive as it once did.
“While countries around the world are taking ambitious steps to address their methane emissions, European member states have repeatedly weakened the Commission’s proposal to finally tackle methane emissions. With Canada’s new regulatory framework setting the international standard, Brussels now runs the risk of getting methane legislation that looks 10 years out of date,” said Jonathan Banks, Global Director, Methane Pollution Program at CATF. “As one of the architects of the Global Methane Pledge, the world cannot afford to see the EU’s first foray into methane legislation fall flat.”
- Esther Bollendorff, Senior Gas Policy Coordinator, CAN Europe
- Jonathan Banks, Methane Programme Director, Clean Air Task Force
- Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Executive Director, Deutsche Umwelthilfe
- Conal Campbell, Coal Mine Methane Policy Analyst, Ember
- Clare Perry, Climate Campaign Lead, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
- Flavia Sollazzo, Senior Director EU Energy Transition, Environmental Defense Fund Europe
- Michał Hetmański, CEO, Instrat
- Stefano Ciafani, President, Legambiente
- Marina Gros, Gas Campaigner, Ecologistas en Acción
- Mihai Stoica, Executive Director, 2Celsius