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Biden Environmental Protection Agency tackles methane leaks in the oil and gas sector

US President Joe Biden speaks onstage during a meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

The EPA on Tuesday will propose regulations to shut off methane leaks at hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells in the United States, marking its most aggressive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate warming.

The agency’s measures will strengthen regulations for new oil and gas wells and impose new requirements on existing wells that were not previously subject to methane regulations. President Joe Biden will officially announce the proposals on the second day of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, according to senior administration officials.

The methane initiatives will help the president cut domestic emissions in half by 2030 and reach zero emissions by mid-century. The proposals also advance the US-EU Global Methane Commitment – a pact to reduce methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade.

More than 90 governments have joined the pledge, according to the White House, including 15 of the world’s 30 largest sources of methane emissions – the US, EU, Indonesia, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Nigeria, Iraq, Vietnam and Canada.

Methane is a key component of natural gas and accounts for 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions. The oil and gas industry accounts for about 30% of the country’s methane emissions.

Methane is 84 times more powerful than carbon and does not last as long in the atmosphere before collapsing, making it an important target for quickly fighting climate change while minimizing emissions of other greenhouse gases.

EPA’s Methane Regulations, which were adopted in response to the presidential January decree, according to estimates of White House officials, will cover about three quarters of all methane emissions in the United States.

The Biden administration is launching a nationwide initiative to tighten commitments to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, which includes the release of the US Methane Action Plan, officials said.

A historic United Nations report released earlier this year stated that drastic cuts in methane emissions are vital to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

According to the UN Global Methane Assessment, the world could cut methane emissions by up to 45% this decade, avoiding warming of nearly 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045 and helping to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Paris Climate Agreement.


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