EU’s climate credibility rests on tackling methane emissions from gas

(EurActiv, 7 Jan 2020) EU methane legislation is not just a nice-to-have. Europe cannot meet its 2030 and 2050 targets, nor ensure the success of the Paris Agreement without it, writes Poppy Kelesi.

Poppy Kalesi is Global Director for Energy at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an NGO.

The recently published European Green Deal showed political honesty by focusing on high-impact, actionable priorities where the EU has leverage to curtail climate-damaging emissions. The ambition is notable. Turning that ambition into action is now the next critical step. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is one area where the EU has a major opportunity to apply its market power to drive down global emissions, both through methane legislation and diplomacy.

Methane stands as a critical test for the EU institutions to show that they have listened to EU citizens’ calls to act fast. EU methane legislation is not just a nice-to-have. Europe cannot meet its 2030 and 2050 targets, nor ensure the success of the Paris Agreement without it.

Europe is currently the world’s largest importer of internationally traded gas, with much of its gas sourced from top methane emitting countries, including Russia, the United States and Algeria.

Over the last several years, methane has emerged as a critical climate pollutant — one that countries must reduce in addition to carbon dioxide. Methane is a powerful heat trapper — more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years after it is emitted. At least 25% of the warming we feel today is driven by methane emissions caused from human activity.

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EurActiv, 7 Jan 2020: EU’s climate credibility rests on tackling methane emissions from gas