EU ‘declaring war’ on energy sector methane emissions

(EurActiv, 11 Apr 2024) The European Parliament adopted a pioneering new law to reduce methane emissions in the energy sector on Wednesday (10 April), but the oil and gas sector quickly pointed to potential implementation problems.

The text was adopted by a large majority (530 votes in favour and 63 against) and is the first piece of EU legislation targeting methane emissions in the energy sector. Once national ministers sign off on the text, it will enter into EU law.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, responsible for around a third of net global warming.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that almost 40% of global methane emissionscome from the energy sector. Much of these are a result of leaks or intentional venting of the gas into the atmosphere. The IEA estimates that 70% of the sector’s methane emissions can be reduced with existing technologies.

“This law is an essential new brick in a comprehensive European climate strategy,” said French liberal lawmaker Pascal Canfin, who co-led work on the file.

The text requires oil and gas operators to detect and repair methane leaks, with an obligation to repair leaks above a certain level within five days of detection. Underground and open coal mines will have to measure and report methane emissions on an ongoing basis.

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EurActiv, 11 Apr 2024: EU ‘declaring war’ on energy sector methane emissions