The Newest Global Climate Solution

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The initiative has big goals– and a big turnout. (Image Credit: PBS)

The Global Methane Pledge (GMP) Ministerial seeks to ensure compromises, new policies and regulations to reduce methane emissions. In its 28th edition, 57 governments and the EU have completed or are completing their national methane plans, covering 55% of global emissions. New technologies were launched, including the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) and a new Data to Methane Action Campaign using satellite data to identify and address leaks.

Methane, being the second-largest warming causes from the Industrial Revolution, has a short life span of 12-years compared to other sources. This means that stopping leaks quickly reduces temperature. This is why achieving the GMP goal of cutting 30% of methane emissions by 2030 is essential for keeping 1.5°C temperature limit within reach.

Other nations have placed higher expectations. Canada, for example, has set it’s goal to 75% reduction below 2012 levels by 2030. Their plan involves investing $30 million to establish a Methane Centre of Excellence, consultation with stakeholders that started from December 16th, and setting new prohibitions to oil and gas producers.

Under the same agreement to build no new coal plants, the US has set its goal for a 80% reduction for 2038, and declaring similar plans to the ones proposed by Canada.

Some of the ongoing initiatives are not solely restricted to local or national commerce. The European Parliament agreed to deploy “maximum methane intensity values” on foreign producers exporting fossil-related fuels to Europe. A non-profit climate news site, emphasizes that the deal sets new requirements, placing producers to regularly audit their operations. To enhance private and public sector’s transition, the EU estimates that it will create 3.5 million new jobs in the renewable energy sector, doubling today’s renewable energy sector workforce.

Various media outlets have highlighted China, among the top methane producers worldwide, refused to sign the GMP. Despite a summary of the 28th GMP published at EU-China Energy Cooperation Platform (ECECP) — an alliance to foster discussions for climate action — on December 14th, the article focused on EU’s involvement and there was no mention to why China decided to not be involved.

According to Carbon Briefing, China’s emissions caused by human activities only correspond to 10%, and is formed in a great majority due to agriculture and coal production. Independently of the GMP agreement, China is building a system for monitoring, report and verify methane emissions, called the “MRV” system, a national emission control plan, and promised to push international cooperation. However, some of these initiatives are perceived as still in progress, and lacking of incentive to private companies.

Experts have highlighted that as China’s main source of methane emissions are more costly and harder to tackle, compared to oil and gas sources in EU and US could have been influenced in COP 28. However, this solely could not justify it completely. Further research into Chinese articles, the high costs complements with their government likely not considering GMP’s proposals as fitting to waste treatment, water initiatives and national energy crisis that only consider coal consumption and consumption as primary source; streaming a higher priority due to the impact of these projects.

This trend of individual climate initiatives is also seen in other countries that didn’t sign the pledge. Qatar, with its economy prosperity derived from the extraction and export of petroleum, unlike Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has not joined other countries in announcing cutting methane emissions. However, a government oil and gas company have set independently their own initiatives to reduce a great majority of emissions from their operations by 2023 — a goal similar to GMP’s. The company, Qatar Energy, has been recognized by the World Bank due to its compromise in changes at governance structure, gas flaring, and collaboration with the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR). Regardless of the partnership each country wants to set due to internal initiatives or ongoing priorities, it’s important that monitoring for climate action is publicly demonstrated. This will allow lowering the agenda’s questioning progress and a timely transition to renewable energy in a new market.

Written by Emily Ulloa

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