One of the world’s biggest asset management firms, the UK’s $1.4-trillion Legal & General Investment Management, is declaring “zero tolerance” for climate-busting methane leaks from oil and gas wells.
“Standards on methane leak disclosure are not strong,” said John Hoeppner, the company’s head of U.S. stewardship and sustainable investments. “Every company can report leakages in the way that makes them look good versus their peers.”
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The difference in reporting formats makes the problem tough to track, even though atmospheric methane traps more than 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over a two-year period, Bloomberg News reports, in a story republished by the Financial Post. “Methane that escapes from pipelines and other oil processing facilities has been blamed for as much as 25% of the planet’s global warming,” the news agency writes, and “a focus on methane might be one of the fastest ways to fight global warming.”
Investors have become particularly concerned about methane leaks after seeing Donald Trump abandon regulations the U.S. previously adopted under President Barack Obama, the story adds.
Now, Legal & General “wants companies to pay extra attention to consistent, comparable methane leak measurement and whether oil and gas companies are availing themselves of new monitoring tools like satellite technology, sensors, drones, sniffers, and detectors,” Bloomberg writes. Along with the U.S. Environmental Defense Fund, the company was to issue best practice guidelines last week for distribution to fossil producers.
“Over a dozen major oil and gas companies have committed to ambitiously reduce their emissions, but they’ve got to prove that they are doing it,” said EDF+Business Vice President Tom Murray, noting that fossils’ current estimates can be off by up to 60%.
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