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Draft EU methane strategy shies away from binding emissions standards
(EurActiv, 25 Aug 2020) The European Union’s long-awaited plan to curb emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane will not impose binding standards on natural gas sold in the bloc, according to a draft seen by Reuters.
Methane is nearly 90 times more potent than CO2 in its first 20 years in the atmosphere, and is emitted from leaky pipelines and infrastructure, and is often burned off at oil and gas fields. It is also produced in farming.
As the world’s biggest importer of natural gas, the EU is facing pressure from investors, climate campaigners and some fossil fuel companies to set binding methane emissions limits on gas sold in Europe.
While the EU regulates methane emissions from gas burned in the bloc, it doesn’t do so for emissions during the production or transport of gas imports, so those emissions don’t show up in the tally of greenhouse gases linked to Europe’s gas-fuelled power plants, nor are they counted in the EU’s climate goals.
The EU’s methane strategy draft, due to be published by the European Commission next month, does not propose further methane emission standards but commits to “explore” them, without fixing a date.
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