The bite will go after methane emissions on day 2 of the Glasgow climate conference

GLASGOW, Scotland – President Biden will press for a global initiative aimed at methane emissions, a potent driver of global warming, on the second day of the UN climate conference here.

About 30 percent of methane emissions in the United States can be attributed to the oil and gas industry, including production, pipelines and use in commercial buildings and homes. By focusing on methane emissions, Biden seeks to “lead by example,” as he said Monday.

To that end, the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday will propose a rule regulating leak detection and repair of methane leaks, a policy that partially restores a Obama-era standard that was repealed by former President Donald Trump, but which would also extend implementation to existing oil and gas operations. A senior administration official said the new rule would cover about 75 percent of all methane emissions.

In September, Biden announced that the United States and the European Union had both promised to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent by the end of the decade.

“Not only will this rapidly reduce the rate of global warming, but it will also produce a very valuable side benefit such as improving public health and agricultural production,” Biden said. “We are mobilizing support to help developing countries that join and promise to do something significant.”

US President Joe Biden speaks at the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, UK November 1, 2021. Evan Vucci / Pool via REUTERS

President Biden speaks at the UN climate conference on Monday. (Evan Vucci / Pool via Reuters)

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane emissions have fallen over the past two decades, but because methane is 80 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide during the first 20 years in the atmosphere, it may prove crucial to conserving emissions. . global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 ° C. The average global temperature has already risen 1.2 ° C since before the Industrial Revolution.

Methane emissions have multiple sources, including natural gas and oil drilling operations, landfills, abandoned coal mines and agriculture, and the Biden administration continues to pressure other nations to commit to limiting emissions where possible.

According to a recent report from the UN Environment Program, targeted methane emissions are a good strategy for tackling climate change.

“Methane has accounted for about 30 percent of global warming since pre-industrial times and is spreading faster than at any other time since registration began in the 1980s,” UNEP said on its website.

While 70 countries had joined the United States at the start of the conference to take action to combat methane emissions, a senior administration official revealed that the number had grown to more than 90 nations by the end of the first day of meetings in Glasgow.

In Scotland, the President has reiterated his view that the transition from a fossil fuel economy to renewable energy sources will create jobs for Americans and other countries. In terms of methane, some of these jobs can e.g. come to detect leaks in existing pipelines and replace them with new infrastructure. Closing old oil wells and coal mines is also part of the president’s plan, a senior administration official said.

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