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Breakthrough on first-ever methane emissions reduction plan in the EU

Date

15 Nov 2023

Sections

Global Europe
The European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached, at 4 am this morning, an ambitious agreement to reduce methane emissions, which are over 80 times more climate damaging than CO2. Since they leave the atmosphere much faster than carbon dioxide, their reduction will bring rapid and significant benefits to combatting climate change and its impacts. 
 
In the negotiations with the other political groups, and subsequently with the Council, the S&D Group secured clear rules on Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) to better monitor progress made by EU fossil fuel suppliers in curbing methane emissions from leaky oil and gas infrastructures. Imports from third country suppliers will also have to comply with the new requirements, including a mechanism on super emitters. 
 
However, despite the important breakthrough on reducing methane emissions, the Council was not willing to translate the commitment* for a 2030 methane reduction target for all sectors into EU legislation.   
 
Günther Sidl, S&D negotiator for the committee on environment, public health and food safety, said: 
 
“To make a real impact against climate change, we must focus on methane. As the second most harmful greenhouse gas, we can’t ignore it any longer. Thanks to the agreement reached with the member states today, we’re gaining momentum, starting with the energy sector. We will not stop insisting on the Commission and the member states to cover all sectors including agriculture, waste, and wastewater to ramp up methane emission reductions.”
 
Jens Geier, S&D negotiator for the committee on industry, research and energy, said:
 
“It’s crucial for the EU to address methane emissions in its energy sector. Our methane regulation covers the entire production and transmission chain, addressing methane leaks in the energy sectors. We’ve strengthened measures for quick leak detection and repair, with emphasis on worker safety and by securing the security of supply.
 
“Let’s be clear: as long as we extract fossil fuels, we must deal with methane. Phasing out fossil fuels remains the best climate protection. Extracting and burning methane is a second-best option, but we must decisively halt uncontrolled methane leaks.”
 
Notes to editors:
 
*Under the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) launched at COP26 in 2021, the European Union, along with 149 countries, committed to reducing global anthropogenic methane emissions by 30% in 2030 compared to 2020 levels.
 
The agreement reached today still needs final approval from the Council and the European Parliament.
 

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