Brussels (Brussels Morning) The UN cites the need to cut methane emissions to tackle climate change as the European Commission prepares new methane regulations, Reuters reports.
The just released UN report points out that methane is a greenhouse gas and predicts that cutting emissions is the fastest way to curb climate change.
Anthropogenic methane emissions could be almost halved by 2030 using currently available technologies, according to the UN report, which could decrease global warming by close to 0.3 Celsius come 2040.
Stockholm Environment Institute researcher Johan Kuylenstierna endorsed the approach, saying “if we want to reduce the rate of warming in the near term, methane is the way to do it.”
Stricter gas infrastructure rules expected
The EC is to propose rules for limiting methane emissions this year which will likely require energy companies to fix leaks in their gas infrastructure.
Fossil fuels are the third-largest source of methane emissions in Europe, behind waste sources and agriculture, which tops the list.
Globally, some 40% of anthropogenic methane emissions come from agriculture, followed by fossil fuels which account for about 35%, with waste sources at roughly 20%.
Rules could apply to EU suppliers
Since the EU is the largest importer of gas, the bloc’s new rules could have far-reaching effects on supply chains if the EC applies methane rules to foreign suppliers.
Last year, the Commission announced it would consider setting methane standards for imported fuel unless other countries take action.
Duke University professor Drew Shindell pointed out that since satellites are capable of identifying sources of methane emission this could help target sources directly.
He reckoned moves like the one the EU is preparing should “spread around the world so that more and more places have specific targets for methane.”
Besides the EU, the US is preparing methane emissions regulations and is set to propose new laws in September.