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35 Countries to Pledge 30% Methane Cut by 2030

At least 35 countries are on track to join a U.S.- and European Union-led agreement to curb climate-busting methane emissions, with the official announcement expected in the early days of the United Nations climate change conference, COP 26, in Glasgow.

The countries are expected to affirm an earlier agreement to cut emissions 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, Bloomberg News reports. During the recent federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a 75% methane reduction from 2012 levels by decade’s end.

“The pledge to rein in output of the potent greenhouse gas is already backed by nations including the U.K., Canada, and Germany,” Bloomberg writes, citing an official who declined to be identified. “The U.S. and the EU will likely reveal additional signatories at the COP 26 summit on November 2.” Countries see the prospect of methane reductions “coming from the oil industry, agriculture, and waste, among other sources,” and signatories to date represent almost one-third of global methane emissions. Methane is a relatively short-lived climate pollutant, but it’s 80 to 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period—the time span in which humanity will be scrambling to get climate change under control. 

Rick Duke, White House liaison for U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, said the country is working with “development banks, bilateral aid agencies, and with governments everywhere to ensure that we have the strongest possible launch of this global methane pledge at COP 26,” Bloomberg says. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will introduce new controls on methane leaks from oil and gas as early as this week, while EU policy-makers “are expected to propose laws soon that will force gas companies to monitor and report their methane emissions, and improve the detection and repair of leaks,” Bloomberg says.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest science assessment in August, methane quickly emerged as one of best opportunities this decade to begin getting the climate emergency under control. But decision-makers are also hearing that controls won’t work if they depend on fossil industry data on the extent of the problem.