U.S., EU agree to reduce methane emissions by a third

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U.S., EU agree to reduce methane emissions by a third

Bloomberg - - The United States and the European Union have agreed on a plan to reduce methane emissions by about a third by the end of the decade as part of a diplomatic push to get other countries to take aim at the powerful planet-warming gas, according to people familiar with the effort.

The U.S. is asking other nations to join the global methane pledge - an expected topic of discussion during a climate change forum President Joe Biden is convening on Friday. The meeting is designed to generate momentum for a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland on 31 October to Nov. 12.

Biden plans to unveil the methane pledge at the Glasgow meeting, according to an invitation he sent to the President of the Argentine Republic Alberto Fernandez, which is posted on the presidential website.

For the benefit of both present and future generations, I urge you to join me and our fellow leaders in doing our utmost to meet this fateful moment, Biden wrote in the invitation, dated Sept. 8.

Under the U.S. - EU pledge, the nations are agreementing to reduce methane emissions across the board without singling out planned reductions from certain high emitting sectors, such as oil and agriculture. The goal is a global one-third reduction of emissions of methane with countries who sign on pledging to do their part in achieving the target.

The Biden Administration is working to recruit at least two dozen countries to sign the pledge before the next climate summit, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

The people speaking on anonymity all spoke.

The Biden administration has been working on the methane pledge for months - part of a strategy to build multilateral climate commitments that buttress nations Paris agreement pledges.

This was re-addressing this as a presidential imperative, Rick Duke, senior director and White House liaison for the special envoy for climate change, said in a forum on methane last month. We cannot look to a single agreement to help reduce methane pollution with the speed and comprehensiveness that we require. It s going to require sustained diplomacy, sustained programmatic work, action by governments and industry encompassing all these opportunities. The relationship between the U.S. and EU was previously reported by Reuters. The White House declined to comment on the report and the office of John Kerry, special envoy for climate, didn't respond to a request for comment.

Representatives of the EU confirmed no immediate comment but an EU official familiar with the matter confirmed that the pledge is to be made to the forum on Friday.

With the support of additional countries, the methane pledge would represent the first global political commitment to try to lock methane amid increasingly urgent warnings that reductions of greenhouse gases are essential to stop near-term warming and reduce feedback loops that lock in climate change.

The science tells us that we have vanishingly little time to help change global warming before we start passing serious climate tipping points, said Sarah Smith, director of the Super Pollution Program at Clean Air Task Force. The forthcoming global methane pledge reflects what UN scientific panels and other bodies say we need to do to address methane and set ourselves on a path towards global warming 1.5 C. Methane is 84 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide during the two decades after it is first released and is thought to be responsible for at least a quarter of global warming.

The Biden administration is scheduled to propose more aggressive federal methane mandates later this month for oil and gas wells, including hundreds of thousands that were drilled long ago but had so far escaped direct methane curbs. Biden s environmental protection agency also is expected to tighten Obama-era requirements for routine inspections and quick repairs of leaking equipment at wells that are newly drilled or modified.