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COP27, US and EU want global standards on methane emissions

About half of global warming accumulated so far since 1850 comes from methane emissions

Limits to the flaring and venting of fossil gas. Obligation to quickly repair the leaking pipelines. Systematic and constant monitoring of methane emissions mandatory for companies. These are the three pillars underpinning the strengthening of the Global Methane Pledge, the global pact against CH4 launched in September 2021 by the European Union and the United States. A strengthening that will be announced shortly at the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh and aims to create a club of more virtuous countries among the about 120 who joined the Pledge in the last year.

The reduction of methane emissions is one of the dossiers on which the international community must concentrate during this decade with timely and short-term actions if the possibility of reaching the target of 1.5°C is to be kept open. Methane, in fact, is a gas with a climate-altering power 82.5 times higher than that of CO2 in the first 20 years in which it remains in the atmosphere. And it is held responsible by the IPCC for about half (0.5°C) of the cumulative global warming from the beginning of the industrial age to today.

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The idea behind the new criteria on methane emissions studied by Brussels and Washington is to put another wedge towards global standards. Really new, in the measures that will strengthen the Global Methane Pledge, there is very little. Indeed, they are all already contained in the EU strategy on methane. What we are trying to do by taking advantage of the COP27 stage is to push other big emitters to adapt to European standards, largely shared by the US. Although on both sides of the Atlantic, these measures are only announced and not implemented.

How many countries will join this more stringent version of the Global Methane Pledge remains to be seen. There would be “some” large emitters from American and European sources ready to enter the list. Also during COP27, new commitments are expected from about 40 countries that decided to join the Pledge last year.

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