The European Union could help slash global methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by almost a third if it applied measures tackling pollution domestically to imports as well, according to a new report.
(Bloomberg) — The European Union could help slash global methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by almost a third if it applied measures tackling pollution domestically to imports as well, according to a new report.
Member states and the bloc’s parliament are negotiating rules to tackle methane emissions in the fossil-fuel sector, with EU lawmakers pushing to apply the same rules for detecting and repairing domestic leaks to products made outside the bloc. Methane is about 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.
Such a move may help spur a reduction of at least 30% in global emissions from the oil and gas sector, according to Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit group in Rotterdam. The industry currently is responsible for about 7% of methane releases into the atmosphere.
“Import standards cannot be ignored if the EU aspires to be a global leader in the crucial fight against methane pollution,” said Alessia Virone, the EU’s government affairs director. “Considering the enormous climate and energy security benefits, it’s crucial to start building an import standard now and not kick the can down the road.”
Read more: EU Lawmakers Overcome Challenge to Weaken Tough Methane Rules
Addressing methane emissions is considered low-hanging fruit since most leaks can be fixed at low cost. Any methane not released into the atmosphere also can be sold on the global market. The EU Parliament wants set a 2030 methane-reduction target for the bloc.
But there are concerns about extending domestic legislation abroad over fears it may harm the security of supply following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Monitoring methane levels in imported oil and gas is also seen as a complex logistical challenge because satellite technology often needs to be combined with on-the-ground measurements.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, wants to conclude negotiations before the COP28 climate summit scheduled to start in Dubai next month. The bloc is part of the Global Methane Pledge, an agreement by about 150 countries to slash emissions 30% by 2030.
–With assistance from Alberto Nardelli.
(Updates with parliament position in fifth paragraph.)
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