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Fueling Change: EU’s Opportunity to Curb Flaring Pollution and Protect Millions

October 19, 2023 Category: Policy Work Area: Methane

In this study, Clean Air Task Force shows that oil and gas imports to the European Union expose nearly 10 million people to an avoidable practice known as flaring, which is known to release high levels of harmful chemicals. Through a strong methane import standard, the EU can dent global flaring emissions and decrease the health risk of nearby populations.

The study focused on 20 countries with significant oil and gas exports to the European Union and where an EU Import Standard is likely to lead to reductions in flaring. The study finds: 

  • Nearly 10 million people live within 5 kilometers (km) of active flares; 
  • Iraq and Nigeria have the most people affected, with 3.0 million and 2.5 million respectively; 
  • Another 2.9 million people live within 5km of flares in the United States, Mexico, Azerbaijan, and Egypt combined; 
  • More than half a million people live extremely close to flares, less than 1 km away; 
  • 10% of flaring sites are located very near urban or suburban areas.