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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The European Commission yesterday unveiled a wide-ranging strategy to cut methane pollution, noting it's "essential to reaching our 2030 climate targets and the 2050 climate neutrality goal."

Why it matters: Reuters flags the importance of the plan's consideration of binding standards on natural gas, noting it's a "clearer commitment than previous drafts, which shied away from methane limits on gas consumed in Europe."

  • That matters because Europe imports vast quantities of natural gas.
  • Reuters notes that their current 2050 target "does not capture the emissions released to produce or transport gas to the EU, whereas methane standards for imported gas would."

Threat level: Separately, the energy analytics firm Kayrros said yesterday that its analysis of satellite data shows a "substantial increase in large global methane leaks" this year." Based on the number of methane hotspots detected in the oil and gas sector, visible methane emissions around the world have increased by approximately 32 per cent," the firm said, comparing the first eight months of this year to the same stretch of 2019.

Go deeper: The number of global methane hot spots has soared this year despite the economic slowdown (Washington Post)

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 7, 2021 - Energy & Environment

EPA: Fuel efficiency dropped in 2019

Data: EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The average fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. dipped in model year 2019, newly released federal data shows.

Why it matters: Transportation is the nation's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The overall trends (see above) show that the sector is far from steep emissions cuts.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 8, 2021 - World

Analysis: 2020 ties 2016 as warmest year on record

Bidwell Bar Bridge surrounded by fire during the Bear fire in Oroville, Calif. on September 9, 2020. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Last year tied 2016 as the warmest year ever recorded, capping the end of the warmest decade on record, according to data released Friday by the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.

By the numbers: "2020 was 0.6°C warmer than the standard 1981-2010 reference period and around 1.25°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period," Copernicus said in a summary of their data. The last six years are the six warmest on record, they said.

1 hour ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.