[JURIST] The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] on Tuesday proposed [press release] new rules to cut methane emissions by the oil and gas industry, as part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to taking action on climate change. The new measures will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and volatile organic compounds (VOG) from the oil and gas industry, contributing to the Obama Administration’s larger Climate Action Plan to cut methane emissions from the industry by 40 to 45 percent by the year 2025. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated that the new standards proposed today show EPA’s “commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change and protecting public health while supporting responsible energy development, transparency and accountability.” The EPA will hold a hearing on the proposed rules at a later date.
Climate change [JURIST backgrounder] is a pressing global issue which many of the world’s governments have addressed in recent years. Last month the US, Brazil and China agreed [JURIST report] to address reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of wind and solar power sources to 20 percent of each nation’s electricity production by 2030. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called on India [JURIST report] in January to be a world leader in sustainable development, praising the efforts the country has made thus far on this matter. In December UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, Virginia Dandan, urged [JURIST report] states attending the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru, to commit to a legally binding agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change [text, PDF; JURIST backgrounder] is the first major treaty in response to global climate change. The non-binding treaty does not set greenhouse gas emissions standards on individual countries but requires all parties to participate in Conference of the Parties meetings.