The United States and the European Union will unveil an agreement targeting methane emissions within the fossil fuel industry.
The agreement is set to be released yet this week, although has been seen by Reuters, and includes provisions not just to target the fossil fuel industry’s emissions with domestic interventions but with international ones as well. The policies, according to the document, wil include mandates to stop routine venting and flaring of nat gas, force companies to fix infrastructure leaks where they exist, and could include provisions that require companies to monitor and report their methane emissions.
“We commit to working towards the creation of an international market for fossil energy that minimises flaring, methane, and CO2 emissions across the value chain to the fullest extent practicable, as we also work to phase down fossil fuel consumption,” the draft document reads in part.
A U.S. official told Reuters that it had secured support from a few “major players”.
The agreement piggybacks the Global Methane Pledge signed last year by 119 countries to cut methane emissions by 30% this decade, based on 2020 levels.
The new agreement, an EU official told Retuers, would fix the lack of international standards missing from last year’s agreement.
Methane, the second-most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, accounts for around 20 percent of global emissions and is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat in the atmosphere, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Methane concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled over the last two centuries, predominantly due to human-related activities.
In the United States, the largest source of methane emissions is the agriculture sector, including manure management, followed by natural gas and petroleum systems which accounted for 30 percent of U.S. methane emissions in 2019.