Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) MEPs in the Parliament’s Environmental (ENVI) and Industry (ITRE) Committees are urging the Commission to propose a binding 2030 reduction target for EU methane emissions by the end of 2025.
Lawmakers voted in favor of cutting methane emissions, during a joint vote on April 26.
“We call for ambitious and stringent methane reduction measures. In the energy sector, three-quarters of methane emissions can be avoided by simple measures and without large investments,” said MEP Jutta Paulus.
The bill covers direct methane emissions from the oil, fossil gas, and coal sectors, and from biomethane once it is injected into the gas network and MEPs are also eyeing the petrochemicals sector to be accountable.
As part of the proposed law, operators would be obliged to submit a methane leak detection and repair programme to the relevant national authorities six months from its date of entry into force, with MEPs demanding more frequent leak detection and repair surveys compared to what the Commission is proposing.
According to the UNEP, methane emission reductions of 45% by 2030 could avoid 0.3°C of global warming by 2045.
Powerful greenhouse gas
Scientific studies estimate that at least 25% of today’s warming is driven by methane from human actions.
Methane, the main component of fossil gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas with 80 times the warming potential of CO₂ for the first 20 years it’s in the atmosphere.
Human-caused methane emissions could warm the planet more over the next decade than CO₂ from burning fossil fuels. And its concentrations are rising fast.
“The world is finally waking up to the dangers and potentials of methane, and the EU is in the best position to set an example,” said Flavia Sollazzo, Senior Director of EU Energy Transition at the Environmental Defense Fund Europe.
Global Methane Pledge
At the COP26 in Glasgow, in 2021, 103 countries signed the Global Methane Pledge (GMP), which commits them to reduce methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030.
Within the framework of the GMP, the EU, the US, and 11 other countries launched the GMP Energy Pathway which commits them to capture methane emissions from the energy sector.
Methane emissions come from agriculture, energy, and waste industries, but reducing it in the oil and gas sector is the quickest, cheapest, and most effective way to slow global warming — and put an otherwise wasted energy source to good use. “Without ambitious measures to reduce methane emissions, Europe will miss its climate targets and valuable energy will continue to be wasted (…) As Europe imports more than 80% of the fossil fuels it burns, is essential to expand the scope of these rules to energy imports,” added Paulus.