Nov 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Over 100 world leaders agree to cut global methane emissions by 30%

Picture of Joe Biden
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

105 world leaders on Tuesday signed onto the Global Methane Pledge, a U.S. and EU joint initiative, to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030 at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Why it matters: "Though it's less abundant than longer-lived carbon dioxide, methane is dozens of times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere," Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

State of play: U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry said Tuesday that methane is "20 to 80 times more destructive" than carbon dioxide.

  • Kerry said by pledging to lower emissions, the world will be able to lower warming by 0.2°C.

Zoom in: President Biden announced "the next steps to reduce U.S. methane emissions" through two news rules:

  • "One through our Environmental Protection Agency that's going to reduce methane losses from new and existing oil and gas pipelines. And one through the Department of Transportation to reduce wasteful and potentially dangerous leaks from natural gas pipelines," Biden said.
  • The EPA rule would make oil and gas companies detect and resolve methane leaks from their equipment, CNN reports.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc will announce its own methane regulations next month.

What they're saying: "This isn't just something we have to do to protect the environment or future. It's an enormous opportunity ... for all of us, all of our nations to create jobs and make meeting climate goals a core part of our global economic recovery as well," Biden said.

  • "Methane has 86 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. Not only that, it's also an air pollutant that's responsible globally for half a million deaths and hundreds of thousands of asthma-related hospitalizations annually. That's why Canada welcomes the Global Methane Pledge," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
  • "There's no achievable pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C without deep cuts to methane over the next decade," Trudeau added.

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