The European Union agreed on Wednesday over a rule that would establish limits on methane emissions for Europe’s oil and gas imports beginning in the year 2030. This would pressure international suppliers to tighten their control over leaks of the potent greenhouse gas.
After carbon dioxide, methane is the second-biggest contributor to climate change, and its short-term warming effect is far more significant than that of carbon dioxide. If the world wants to avert severe climate change, rapid reductions in methane emissions over the next decade are necessary.
Following meetings that lasted all night, negotiators from EU member states and the European Parliament agreed to impose “maximum methane intensity values” by 2030 on producers outside of Europe who ship fossil fuels into Europe. This was announced in a statement by the Council of the EU, which represents EU member states.
The import regulations will hurt significant gas suppliers like the United States, Algeria, and Russia. The previous year, Moscow reduced its exports to Europe. Since then, Norway has supplanted Russia as Europe’s largest pipeline gas supplier. Norway’s supply has among the lowest methane intensities of any country globally.
The rule “will have repercussions worldwide,” according to Jutta Paulus, the co-lead negotiator for the European Union Parliament, who also stated that “finally, the EU tackles the second most important greenhouse gas with ambitious measures.”
Pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure that are not appropriately maintained and have leaks can release methane into the atmosphere.
The bill will now be submitted for final approval to the European Parliament and the nations that make up the EU. This phase is typically a formality that breezes through negotiations that have already been agreed upon.
In addition, the legislation imposes additional restrictions on the oil, gas, and coal industries, mandating that these industries measure, record, and verify their methane emissions.
The agreement mandates that European oil and gas producers conduct routine checks for and repair any leaks of the potent greenhouse gas inside their facilities.
The majority of flaring and venting occurrences, when businesses purposefully burn off or release undesired methane into the sky, will be prohibited beginning in 2025 or 2027, depending on the kind of infrastructure, according to the legislation.