Nations around the world joined together on Tuesday to promise to curb emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that spews from oil and natural gas operations, livestock production and landfills and can warm the atmosphere 80 times as fast as carbon dioxide in the short term.
President Biden, calling the agreement a “game-changing commitment”, also announced that for the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency intended to limit the methane coming from existing oil and gas rigs across the US.
The federal government previously had rules that aimed to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas wells built since 2015, but the Trump administration rescinded them.President Biden intends to restore and strengthen them, aides said.
The announcement, at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, came as Biden faces intense pressure internationally and at home to show that the US, the nation that has historically pumped the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, is serious about mitigating climate change.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said cutting methane emissions was “one of the most effective things we can do” to slow warming.“We cannot wait for 2050 — we have to cut emissions fast,” she said, calling methane “the lowest-hanging fruit.”
Biden has set an aggressive target of cutting the country’s emissions this decade about 50 percent below 2005 levels, but legislation to help meet that goal is stalled in Congress.That leaves the administration relying on regulations and other executive actions.
The White House said that more than 90 countries had signed the Global Methane Pledge, a commitment to reducing methane emissions 30 per cent by 2030, including half of the world’s top 30 methane emitters.The US, EU, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria are among those that have signed on.Some major polluters, like China, India and Russia, have not joined.
New York Times News Service