If you read the news, you've probably seen the cop 26 methane pledge that the United States, Canada, and 105 other countries have signed. It's a promise to reduce the amount of methane that they release into the atmosphere. Despite its significance, methane emissions are often underestimated and underreported. Fortunately, the EPA is taking steps to curtail methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. In addition, the UNEP has proposed that it set up a center for technical expertise to help countries make good on their methane reduction obligations.
105 countries sign pledge
105 countries from across the world have signed a global pledge to reduce methane emissions. This is the first methane pledge that has been made by an international group of governments. These countries have committed to reducing their methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
This pledge is supported by the European Investment Bank and the Green Climate Fund. Several philanthropic organisations have also pledged to support the Pledge.
One hundred and fifty-five countries have joined the Global Methane Pledge, led by the United States and the EU. Among them are the largest methane-producing countries, including the United States, China, India and Russia. The European Union has asked the pledge participants to develop a national methane reduction action plan by COP27.
There are also significant methane emitters from Africa, including Cameroon, Central African Republic and Cote D'Ivoire. Some African countries have begun to put more concrete plans in place to reduce methane emissions. They are aiming to reduce methane leaks from landfills and rice fields, recycle waste, compost and increase water management.
There is a need for sharp cuts in methane. These cuts can help slow global warming, especially in the short term. Cutting methane could help keep average temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), methane has the highest potential for slowing warming over the next twenty years. However, it is important to note that there are still gaps in the data, particularly in Africa. Despite this, there are known solutions and it should not deter any country from taking action to reduce methane.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has also announced new regulations to address methane leaks from pipelines. Combined, these measures will limit methane leaks in the United States to less than half the current levels.
Efforts to abate methane emissions do not substitute but rather complement global action on CO2
One of the most important climate talks in history, the United Nations' COP26, is now in its second week. Although no major breakthroughs have been announced, negotiators are starting to focus on methane emissions as a means to curb global warming.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is emitted from landfills, oil and gas wells, and other industrial processes. It is responsible for 30 percent of global warming. Since 2007, atmospheric concentrations of methane have risen dramatically.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body of the U.N., has issued a Global Methane Pledge to catalyze action by countries to reduce methane. This pledge is voluntary and non-binding, but it is considered a significant development.
It challenges countries to reduce methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. The Global Methane Pledge is led by the European Union and United States, and has so far reached 111 countries. Several leading methane emitters have refused to join the voluntary alliance, including Russia, India, and China.
As nations begin to commit to methane reductions, experts say it's important to have an accurate baseline to measure progress against. Ideally, nations should provide a commitment to regularly update UNFCCC inventories and direct funding towards abatement technologies.
While the Global Methane Pledge does not assign targets to individual countries, it does require them to develop a national methane reduction action plan by COP27. Countries may also be subject to financial penalties for failing to meet the target.
President Biden, meanwhile, is taking steps to cut methane emissions in the United States. He announced a new methane action plan and promoted important new technologies. Among other measures, the EPA has announced proposed regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 74 percent by 2030.
UNEP should set up a center for technical expertise to help countries make good on their methane reduction provisions
Developing countries need to take advantage of international cooperation in order to strengthen their climate actions. This includes improving access to finance and technology and enhancing domestic capacities.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is working on a number of initiatives to help countries address methane emissions. These include the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO), which provides science and recommendations to governments.
Human-caused methane emissions account for more than half of the total methane emissions worldwide. These emissions originate from livestock farming, wastewater, coal mining, agriculture, land use and forests. They are estimated to cause a quarter of global warming.
Reducing these emissions will keep warming well below the agreed global warming limit of 2 degC. Moreover, cutting emissions by 45 percent would prevent 73 billion hours of lost labour, 26 million tonnes of crop losses, 260 thousand premature deaths and seventy-five thousand asthma-related hospital visits.
The United States is moving forward with its Global Methane Pledge, which commits to 30% reductions in oil and gas methane emissions by 2030. While most of these cuts will come in the fossil fuel sector, there are also solutions that can be applied to the waste, agriculture and waste-to-energy industries.
A recent report by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition shows that reducing methane emissions can cut global warming in the short term. At the same time, these cuts can close the gap between what is being achieved and what is needed. In order to achieve this, the Coalition has launched a strategy for the year 2030. It will work to design financing models and strategies that can help to pay for the solutions.
Underreported methane is notoriously underreported
If you've been following the COP26 climate talks in Paris, you know methane is now a hot topic. The global temperature has been rising for more than a decade, and methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
According to the International Energy Agency, methane emissions in the United States are more than 70 percent higher than what's reported. Oil and gas facilities self-report their emissions, allowing for massive underreporting.
During the COP26 conference, more than 70 nations announced their commitment to the Global Methane Pledge. This pledge, though legally non-binding, will focus on reducing methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. However, the pledge lacks an enforcement mechanism and a detailed plan to reach this target.
Environmentalists are hoping to cut methane by targeting livestock, landfills, and oil and gas operations. But the effort faces numerous challenges, including the underreporting of emissions.
To address this, a group called Methane Action has developed a new non-profit organization based in Washington state. Chief executive Daphne Wysham understands the urgency of the situation and hopes to accelerate the pace at which methane is removed. She is currently meeting with the U.S. State Department's climate team.
As a result, a collaborative project called ClimateTRACE has been launched to provide a global perspective on heat-trapping emissions. The data will help countries prepare for the Paris Agreement's Global Stocktake.
In addition, the UN Environment Program has launched a Methane Alert and Response System. This system will notify stakeholders about major methane releases.
One of the biggest sources of methane in the United States is livestock. Cows produce around 60 percent of all animal emissions, and they are estimated to be responsible for between 57 and 76 million tons of methane per year.
EPA promulgates new regulations to curtail methane emissions from the oil and gas industry
A proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could curtail methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The rule would set standards for methane emissions from oil and gas production facilities. These rules will affect hundreds of thousands of new and existing facilities.
Several commenters have raised legal issues with the proposal, including due process and the applicability date of the rule. In addition, some have questioned the technical aspects of the rule.
While some commenters have criticized the proposed regulations, others have pointed out that it is a significant step towards more effective methane emissions regulation. EPA estimates that it will decrease methane emissions by more than 70 percent by 2030. This would help to improve air quality and reduce climate pollution.
The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on November 15, 2021. EPA plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule within 15 days of publication.
EPA will then consider the comments submitted and issue a supplemental proposal. This would include proposed regulatory text and additional modifications based on the public input. EPA plans to publish its supplemental proposal in 2022.
During the comment period, EPA will collect information on the types of equipment used by oil and gas facilities, emissions control practices, and any emissions devices on the property. EPA also intends to request information on flares, tank truck loading operations, and pipeline "pigging" activities.
Once the EPA publishes the proposed rule, the affected parties will be able to submit a joint status report. If the parties do not agree on the report, EPA may request additional information from the parties.