EU methane strategy offers framework for immediate climate action

Environmental Defense Fund Europe welcomes the European Commission's Methane Strategy released this week as one of two new initiatives executive vice-president Frans Timmermans outlined to support a green recovery.

At least 25% of the planetary warming we experience right now is caused by methane emissions from human activities, including agriculture, production and use of fossil fuels, and landfill waste. Oil and gas methane present a particularly important opportunity, as it offers the most immediate and lowest cost option to reduce a potent greenhouse gas.

According to the International Energy Agency, the oil and gas industry can deliver a 75% reduction in methane emissions with technology available to it today, with more than half of this achievable at no net cost to the industry.

"This new strategy puts Europe in the vanguard of international policy to reduce methane pollution. As the terrible effects of climate change bear down on all of us, Europe is recognizing that reducing oil and gas methane emissions is the most immediate and cost-effective step to slow the rate of warming now, and is a necessary complement to efforts to drive carbon dioxide pollution out of the economy.

"As the largest importer of internationally traded gas, the EU has a special responsibility to take on methane emissions. We are pleased to hear the Commission will evaluate the feasibility of an import standard on methane in parallel with continuing international dialogues and cooperation. We believe that a swift introduction of gas standards is essential to energy system integration and achieving the goals of the Green Deal, and we stand ready to assist the Commission in its investigations of how this could be done.

"Past progress has been hindered by difficulties in tracking emissions. But monitoring and detection technologies to reduce methane are improving every day. Europe's TROPOMI and Prisma satellites provide access to measured emissions data, while new satellites like MethaneSAT will generate even more precise information on methane emissions from oil and gas operations in remote corners of the world.

"Environmental Defense Fund Europe advocates for market-based solutions that help people and nature prosper. As a leader in advancing methane science and innovative policies to reach a net-zero energy future, we look forward to working with EU leaders to develop enabling legislation built off the Methane Strategy."

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