Dec 4, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Curbing powerful methane emissions is big focus at COP28 climate summit

Note: Period of emission estimates varies by sector, with energy sector emissions for 2022, non-energy sector emissions based on averages for 2019-2021, and natural and biomass burning estimates for 2017; Data: IEA; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Stemming the powerful greenhouse gas methane — especially from the oil industry — is a big focus at COP28.

Driving the news: At the global climate summit this weekend, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled final rules to cut methane from oil and gas operations.

  • The agency estimates it will cut 58 million tons of methane emissions from 2024 to 2038. For a sense of scale, they say 2030 reductions alone, in CO2-equivalent, exceed annual emissions of 28 million cars.

The big picture: Methane is also a big target of the COP28 host's new "Oil & Gas Decarbonization Charter" and other summit pledges.

  • That includes what U.S. climate envoy John Kerry called over $1 billion in grants mobilized to help countries cut methane, which comes from a range of sources.

Threat level: As you can see above, making good on these efforts would require a steep reversal of energy sector levels.

Go deeper: COP28's smooth start could lead to tougher talks

Go deeper