EU negotiators reach deal on methane emission curbs
Negotiators for the EU's member states and lawmakers on Wednesday reached a deal on new rules to curb methane emissions which would put new reporting requirements on the coal, gas and oil industry.
"The text represents a crucial contribution to climate action as methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its overall contribution to climate change and responsible for a third of current climate warming," said Teresa Ribera, Spain's ecological transition minister.
The provisional deal, which still needs to be formally approved to become law, was struck just two weeks before the start of COP28, the UN climate summit in Dubai.
It requires the fossil fuel energy sector to have new measures to track and monitor methane gas emissions, and to prevent leaks. It bans routine venting and flaring and limits non-routing flaring and venting to only when it is unavoidable.
Importantly, it also calls for methane monitoring measures on imports of oil, gas and coal into the European Union, to be introduced in three phases.
The first phase would set up a global monitoring tool and a "super emitter rapid reaction mechanism".
The follow-up phases would, by 2027, introduce monitoring, reporting and verification measures for imports on the same basis as those applied inside the EU, and "maximum methane intensity values" by 2030.
EU member states would have the power to levy fines in case of violation.
The European Commission hailed Wednesday's agreement as "crucial" to the EU's fight against climate change.
It says that, over a century, methane has an effect 28 times greater than that of carbon dioxide on global warming, and over a 20-year timescale it is 84 times more potent.
© 2023 AFP