European risk managers at companies within sectors that emit significant levels of methane, from oil and gas to agriculture, face tougher rules following an agreement between the EU and US to cut methane emissions by at least 30% during the next ten years.
Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November, the EU and US launched the Global Methane Pledge and have signed up other countries, including the UK, to reduce global methane emissions between now and 2030.
“Countries have widely varying methane emissions profiles and reduction potential, but all can contribute to achieving the collective global goal through additional domestic methane reduction and international cooperative actions,” the EU said.
Other countries signed up to the pledge are Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq and Mexico, with plans to recruit more before the pledge’s formal launch at COP26.
Methane accounts for about half of the 1.0oC rise in global average temperatures. Reducing methane emissions is considered the “single most effective strategy” to reduce global warming and meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5oC, the EU said.
It added that achieving the 30% reduction target would lower warming by a minimum of 0.2oC by 2050.
The energy sector has been identified as having the greatest potential for methane emission cuts, with agriculture and landfills also key targets.
Last year, the EU adopted a strategy to reduce methane emissions in all key sectors as part of the European Green Deal, and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The European Commission is expected to propose legislation this year to measure and report methane emissions and introduce new requirements to detect leaks and repair them.