Oil wells and gas pipelines targeted
When we talk about climate change, carbon dioxide gets a lot of attention. It’s understandable. CO2 emissions are a big factor in warming the planet. We don’t talk as much about methane, but while CO2 lingers in the atmosphere longer, methane has up to 80 times the warming power that carbon dioxide does in the first 20 years after its release. It accounts for a third of global warming from human activity.
Not only is methane a product of animal agriculture (yes, cow burps are a major contributor), it also seeps out when oil wells and gas pipelines leak. On Tuesday at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, President Biden laid out a plan to enlist the U.S., E.U., and other nations to reduce methane emissions by 30% over the course of this decade.
In the U.S., the EPA is moving to tighten regulations in the oil and gas sector, applying them to existing wells as opposed to only new ones. The EPA said the regulations could cut emissions in the oil and gas by 75% compared to 2005 levels by 2030.
Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp called it “an important step that offers a major victory for 9 million Americans living near active oil and gas sites.”
The American Petroleum Institute might be on board as well, with senior vice president Frank Macchiarola saying the “EPA has released a sweeping proposal, and we look forward to reviewing it in its entirety,″ and that the institute would work with the EPA on a plan “that is effective, feasible, and designed to encourage further innovation.”
Also in Glasgow, 100 countries vowed to end deforestation before the decade is out. As with all these promises, on deforestation and methane, the proof is in the pudding. Pledges are one thing, meaningful action quite another.