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US and EU plan agreement to curb methane pollution

Climate change updates

The US and EU plan on Friday to commit to slicing methane pollution by 30 per cent over the subsequent decade and are lobbying different massive emitters of the potent greenhouse gasoline to be part of the trouble.

The pact is designed to push methane up the agenda forward of the UN local weather summit in Glasgow in November, mentioned individuals briefed on the plan, and will take impact in October. The UK would even be included, they mentioned.

The targets wouldn’t set emissions limits for particular person sectors, the individuals mentioned, disappointing some local weather analysts who in any other case welcomed news of the forthcoming deal. However, they praised efforts to curtail a greenhouse gasoline that has a warming potential greater than 80 occasions that of carbon dioxide over 20 years.

“The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] was crystal clear: we have to drive down methane emissions to have any threat of a dream of getting to one and a half degrees,” mentioned Jules Kortenhorst, chief government of the RMI, a US-based clean-energy non-profit, referring to the UN’s local weather examine about efforts to maintain world warming inside 1.5C by 2050.

“It makes absolute sense for nations to focus on methane as the most urgent lever,” he mentioned. The IPCC has estimated that cuts in methane and different shortlived pollution may cut back the rise in world warming by 0.2C by 2040 and 0.8C by 2100.

The deal comes because the EU and US additionally put together their very own separate insurance policies to reduce pollution of methane. Emissions are troublesome to measure however the International Energy Agency mentioned about 60 per cent of the 570m tonnes emitted final yr had been associated to human actions similar to agriculture, power manufacturing and transport, and waste.

The Biden White House has made methane-emissions curbs a precedence, and already reinstated Obama-era guidelines to management energy-sector methane pollution that had been rolled again by the Trump administration. The US state division didn’t reply to requests for remark.

But some analysts mentioned that the brand new pact’s impact on world emissions could be restricted.

A UN report on methane in May known as for an pressing 45 per cent discount in methane emissions within the subsequent decade.

Maria Pastukhova, senior coverage adviser at E3G, a European local weather change think-tank, mentioned the deal’s extra modest 30 per cent goal was “problematic”. To drive down world emissions, the deal would want different massive methane polluters to join.

“Even if the US, UK and EU hit the target, it basically doesn’t mean anything for the global [emissions] level without China, Russia and India,” mentioned Pastukhova.

While lowering methane emissions from the oil and gasoline sector could be comparatively straightforward utilizing identified strategies, slicing emissions from agriculture, the largest single supply of human-related methane pollution, could be tougher.

This may make massive emitters similar to Brazil reluctant to join to a pledge calling for across-the-board cuts, mentioned some analysts, whereas poor emissions information in nations similar to Russia and Nigeria may additionally undermine a worldwide pact.

But nations with massive power sectors which have already dedicated to methane reductions, such because the US, may acquire a geopolitical benefit by lowering the pollution, mentioned Paul Bledsoe, adviser to the Progressive Policy Institute, a US think-tank.

“The US sees a strategic opportunity to have lower methane-intensive gas displace Russian gas,” Bledsoe mentioned.

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