The European Parliament and EU member states have agreed on measures to reduce methane emissions from the energy sector. Methane is the most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and is responsible for a third of global warming.
The European Union owes it to itself to take the necessary measures against methane emissions. Not only does it want to become climate neutral by 2050, but it has signed an international pledge to reduce global gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 (compared to 2020), thus reducing global warming by 0.2 degrees Celsius.
Europe wants to tackle methane emissions from the energy sector with its first law. Member States and the European Parliament decided to impose measures on companies operating in the oil, fossil fuel and coal mining sectors. They will have to meet strict standards to measure, report and control methane emissions.
“Methane has been a blind spot in climate policy.”
There will also be strict requirements for detecting and plugging methane leaks. Mines that have been closed or abandoned for less than 70 years will fall within the scope of the regulation. Venting and flaring of methane, which releases the gas into the atmosphere, will eventually be banned. Companies from third countries importing oil, gas and coal into Europe will also be subject to monitoring requirements from 2027. This makes sense, because more than 80% of all oil and gas consumed in Europe comes from outside the EU.
“Methane was a blind spot in our climate policy, but that is no longer the case,” says Pascal Canvin, with satisfaction. The French Liberal negotiated the law on behalf of the European Parliament. “We have now reached agreement on another part of the Green Deal, and we are proud to have achieved this just days before the start of the COP28 climate conference.” The energy sector is responsible for 19 percent of methane emissions in the European Union. Agriculture represents 53% of these emissions, and the waste processing industry 26%.
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