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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell unveiled plans Monday to cut methane emissions from its worldwide operations to below 0.2% of the natural gas from their projects by 2025.

Why it matters: Shell, BP and others promote natural gas as a climate-friendly alternative to coal, thanks to its far lower carbon emissions when it's burned.

  • But methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, and leaks from oil-and-gas production (and elsewhere on the supply chain) erode some of that advantage.
  • Shell's move is similar BP's pledge in April, while Exxon unveiled a methane-cutting goal in May.

How it works: "Shell is implementing programmes, including using infrared cameras to scan for methane emissions, deploying advanced technology to repair leaks, and replacing high-bleed pneumatically-operated controllers with low emission alternatives," the company said Monday.

  • Shell said its current "baseline" leak methane leakage rate ranges from 0.01% to 0.8% across its assets.

The big picture: The move signals how some companies are pledging to forge ahead with methane cuts even as the Trump administration moves to scuttle U.S. regulations.

  • However, activists say the oil majors are still moving too slowly on climate efforts overall.

What's next: WSJ notes that the The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a group of 10 huge companies — including Aramco, BP, Shell, Total, Eni and others — plan to announce methane targets by the end of the year.

Go deeper

6 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

The big picture: This was his last race in Tokyo. Dressel won gold in the men's 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter freestyle and 4x100-meter medley relay in Tokyo. He also broke the world record in the men's 100-meter butterfly final on Friday.

  • Dressel had two gold medals going into the Tokyo Olympics.

Go deeper: Full Axios Olympics coverage

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.