COP28 summit: US tightens rules on methane – more than 150 countries join pact Budget crisis in Germany: the 17 billion euro issue and four possible ways out

In the fight against global warming, the US wants to make progress in reducing emissions of climate-damaging methane. The US government announced new standards at the UN climate conference in Dubai last weekend that will require oil and gas producers to stop methane leaks. Germany and the EU are already one step further.

Methane escapes during the extraction of coal, oil and natural gas, but is also released in the stomachs of cows and sheep and at waste dumps. The concentration of methane is increasing faster than that of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. According to the World Weather Organization, this is currently more than 2.5 times the pre-industrial revolution value. At the same time, methane can often be reduced more cost-effectively than carbon dioxide.

The EU and the US entered into an international agreement at the climate conference two years ago, the Global Methane Pledge (GMP), to which more than 150 countries have now signed – they emit just over half of the methane produced by humans . However, China, India and Russia are missing. At the beginning of this week there will be a meeting of the Methane Alliance in Dubai and new initiatives are expected.

Reduction of at least 30 percent

The member states of the Methane Pact want to reduce their emissions by at least 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. According to the initiative, if nothing is done, these will increase by as much as 13 percent globally. The agreement has the potential to reduce global warming by at least 0.2 degrees by 2050. But according to Bill Hare, head of the organization Climate Analytics, it is not enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. This requires a global reduction of 34 percent by 2030.

Al Gore, former US vice president, speaks at the COP28 UN climate summit, Sunday, December 12.  January 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

The German government also warned in Dubai on Sunday about the particularly aggressive greenhouse gas methane. If emissions worldwide can be reduced quickly, rapid progress will be made in the fight against global warming, said the Parliamentary Undersecretary of the Federal Ministry of Climate, Stefan Wenzel. Satellites can now be used to pinpoint exactly where there are leaks in oil drilling platforms or gas fields.

The head of the Federal Environment Agency, Dirk Messner, said in Dubai that the gas was almost 30 times more aggressive than carbon dioxide, which had been the focus of most attention for decades. He called for binding global rules in the fight against methane, especially in oil and gas countries. This must be combined with monitoring and control.

China recently presented its own 14-page methane reduction plan. It does not contain concrete figures or data about the total reduction and contains many individual, often non-specific specifications. For example, more use should be made of the methane released from coal mines.

EU countries are already tightening regulations

The EU Parliament and countries also agreed in mid-November to tighten rules for the oil, gas and coal industries – with clear timetables. Here too, oil and gas power plant operators must regularly detect and repair large methane leaks. Methane flaring is banned in many places.

“Overall, the Global Methane Pledge has succeeded in drawing attention to this problem,” said Thea Uhlich, climate officer at Germanwatch. In fact, in a joint letter, the US and EU refer to many new international initiatives and funding, including from private foundations. 50 countries are developing a national methane plan.

“Ultimately the question is of course whether the GMP actually leads to methane reductions that would not have occurred without GMP.”says Uhlich. There was still a lack of data to assess success.

According to the European Environment Agency, the EU has already reduced its methane emissions by 36 percent between 1990 and 2020. This mainly happened in the energy and waste sector. According to the Federal Environment Agency (Uba), Germany has even reduced its methane emissions by 66 percent between 1990 and 2022. One factor is the end of coal production, but not only: firedamp is extracted and used, and less gas escapes from landfills. Crucial to this, according to Uba, is the development of the circular economy, for example with waste separation and the use of biogas. (saw/sda/dpa)

Soource :Watson



I am Amelia James, a passionate journalist with a deep-rooted interest in current affairs. I have more than five years of experience in the media industry, working both as an author and editor for 24 Instant News. My main focus lies in international news, particularly regional conflicts and political issues around the world.

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