More than 100 countries join pact to slash planet-warming methane emissions

There were roughly 60 countries signed up only last week, after a final diplomatic push from the United States and EU ahead of the COP26 summit.
More than 100 countries have joined a US- and EU-led effort to slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane 30 per cent by 2030 from 2020 levels, an initiative aimed at tackling one of the main causes of climate change.

Methane is the main greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. It has a higher heat-trapping potential than CO2 but breaks down in the atmosphere faster - meaning that cutting methane emissions can have a rapid impact in reining in global warming.

The Global Methane Pledge, launched at the COP26 summit in Glasgow on Tuesday after being announced in September, now covers countries representing nearly half of global methane emissions and 70 per cent of global GDP, US President Joe Biden said.

 
"Together, we're committing to collectively reduce our methane by 30 per cent by 2030. And I think we can probably go beyond that," Biden said at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

"It's going to boost our economies, saving companies money, reducing methane leaks, capturing methane to turn it into new revenue streams, as well as creating good paying union jobs for our workers."

Among the new signatories was Brazil - one of the world's five biggest emitters of methane.

China, Russia and India, also top-five methane emitters, have not signed on to the pledge. Those countries were all included on a list identified as targets to join the pledge, first reported by Reuters.

"Methane is one of the gases we can cut fastest. Doing that will immediately slow down climate change," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

WIDENING THE PACT

Since it was first announced in September with a handful of signatories, the United States and European Union have worked to get the world's biggest methane emitters to join the partnership.

There were roughly 60 countries signed up only last week, after a final diplomatic push from the United States and EU ahead of the COP26 summit.

While it is not part of the formal U.N. negotiations, the methane pledge could rank among the most significant outcomes from the COP26 conference, given its potential impact in holding off disastrous climate change.

A U.N. report in May said steep cuts in methane emissions this decade could avoid nearly 0.3 degree Celsius of global warming by the 2040s. Failing to tackle methane, however, would push out of reach the 2015 Paris Agreement's objective to limit the global rise in temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The 30 per cent methane cut, which is not legally binding, would be jointly achieved by the signatories, and cover all sectors. Key sources of methane emissions include leaky oil and gas infrastructure, old coal mines, agriculture and landfill sites.

If fulfilled, the pledge is likely to have the biggest impact on the energy sector, since analysts say fixing leaky oil and gas infrastructure is the fastest and cheapest way to curb methane emissions.

The United States is the world's biggest oil and natural gas producer, while the EU is the biggest importer of gas.

The United States on Tuesday unveiled its own sweeping proposal to crack down on methane emissions with a focus on the oil and gas sector. The main regulation could take effect as soon as 2023 and slash methane from oil and gas operations by 74 per cent from 2005 levels by 2035, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The EU and Canada both plan to unveil methane legislation addressing the energy sector later this year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel