Biden joins EU in new methane reduction commitment
US president Joe Biden on September 17 called on other countries to join the US and the European Union in their joint commitment to cut methane emissions to below 2020 levels.
Biden unveiled the launch of a Global Methane Pledge, which aims to curb global methane emissions by “at least” 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
“This will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit, like improving public health and agricultural output,” he said.
Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.
Biden’s virtual conference for a meeting of major world economies follows up on events he hosted honouring Earth Day in April. His plea preceded the UN climate conference, COP26, in the UK starting in late October.
The president since taking office has embraced the trends of the energy transition, trends that have been included in various spending proposals this year. A $1 trillion infrastructure bill proposed in August set aside around $8.6bn for carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) initiatives.
Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said the international community is far short of where it needs to be in terms of combating climate change. Italy, he added, welcomes the Global Methane Pledge.
“We must reach a shared understanding of the need to reduce all greenhouse emissions, including methane, significantly in the next decade,” he said via video conference.
Fossil fuel advocates such as the American Petroleum Institute said they would take steps to reduce methane from their operations, but balked on proposed measures to tax emissions.
According to the US Environmental Defense Fund, methane emissions are responsible for about a quarter of what contributes to global warming.
“A 30% reduction in methane pollution is the entry point for this critical conversation,” the group’s president, Fred Krupp, said. “Many countries can and should aim even higher.”