US and EU expected to release details of pledge to reduce planet-warming methane emissions on Friday

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The announcement would come on the same day that President Joe Biden and other world leaders hold a virtual, closed-door meeting on climate, ahead of a pivotal UN climate conference in Glasgow in November.
Reuters first reported that the US and EU were pursuing a methane reduction deal. A US State Department spokesperson and a White House spokesperson declined to comment.

The European official cited by the Post said the US and EU governments were trying to get other countries to sign onto the pledge ahead of Glasgow.

With Earth rapidly warming, scientists say methane emissions need to be reduced fast. Charles Koven, a lead author of the UN climate change report published in August, told CNN this is due to methane’s incredible warming power. Even though carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere longer, methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas, trapping 25 times as much heat.

Methane’s short lifespan is why countries are targeting it to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their impact.

“The fastest way that we might mitigate some of the climate change that we’re seeing already in the short term is by reducing methane,” Koven told CNN. “If we were to reduce methane emissions, it would act to offset one of these sources of warming.”

If the world stopped emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow, Koven said, global temperatures wouldn’t begin to cool for many years because of how long the gas stays in the atmosphere. Reducing methane is the easiest knob to turn to change the path of global temperature in the next 10 years, he said.

Climate measures in budget bill could cut nearly 1 billion tons of emissions per year by 2030, analysis finds

Methane is the main component of natural gas, which powers close to 40% of the US electricity sector. It can enter the atmosphere through leaks from oil and natural gas wells, natural gas pipelines and the processing equipment itself.

According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, the US has thousands of active wells for natural gas, millions of abandoned oil and gas wells, about two million miles of natural gas pipelines, and several refineries that process the gas.

One in three Americans lives in a county with oil and gas operations, posing climate and public health risks, according to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release new methane regulations later this year, and Democrats in Congress are attempting to pass a new methane fee as part of their $3.5 trillion budget bill.

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