Fossil fuel firms must plug methane leaks to meet climate targets, warns watchdog

(The Guardian, 13 Mar 2024) Spending to clean up their operations would be equivalent to only 5% of profits made last year, IEA estimates.

Fossil fuel companies must pay tens of billions to reduce the emissions of methane from their operations or it will be almost impossible to meet global climate targets, the world’s energy watchdog has warned.

The US is now the biggest source of methane emissions from oil and gas extraction, as a result of the massive expansion of its oil and gas sector, while China is the biggest emitter of methane from coal mining. Russia also continues to be a major emitter as its fossil fuel operations are poorly run.

Leaks from coalmines and oil and gas wells are the biggest sources of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that has caused about 30% of the temperature increases seen to date, according to data published on Wednesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

About 170bn cubic metres of methane was emitted from fossil fuel operations around the world last year, which is more than the entire natural gas production of Qatar.

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The Guardian, 13 Mar 2024: Fossil fuel firms must plug methane leaks to meet climate targets, warns watchdog