Biden administration proposes new methane emissions rules News
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Biden administration proposes new methane emissions rules

The Biden administration Tuesday released new rules aimed at reducing global-warming methane emissions. The strict regulations aim to scale back methane leaks from oil and gas industry operations, while also supporting sustainable agriculture and promoting job growth in the US energy sector.

Aiding in these regulations is a new rule from the EPA which pushes oil and gas corporations to better detect, monitor, and repair methane leaks from existing and brand new equipment. This new rule expands upon the EPA rules enacted by former President Barack Obama, as it will regulate natural gas leaks from oil production. It will specifically monitor compressor stations as well as gas-fired pneumatic controllers, which are huge sources of methane leaks. According to the White House Action Plan, the proposed requirements would reduce all methane emissions by almost 75 percent.

In addition to these regulations, Biden, in collaboration with EU President Ursula von der Leyen, kicked off the Global Methane Pledge. The main goal of this pledge is to cut global methane emissions by more than 30 percent by 2030. The pledge has been signed by over 100 countries. Through the International Methane Emissions Observatory, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will be able to monitor and accurately reduce the amount of methane emissions coming from the three main methane-producing activities: agriculture, fossil fuels, and waste.

UNEP is confident that this new joint agreement will be a massive step forward in tackling climate change and reaching some of the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Biden administration is also hopeful that, by moving into a new phase of methane emission reduction, millions of new, cleaner jobs will be created in the next decade primarily in the energy, construction, and automotive sectors. Other initiatives included in the Action Plan are global forest conservation, critical ecosystems support, and greater sources of renewable energy.

Methane is responsible for at least a quarter of today’s total global warming. According to the Global Methane Assessment, cutting human-caused methane by 45 percent this decade alone would keep global warming temperatures far below the threshold agreed upon by world leaders. In conjunction with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, UNEP found that this methane reduction would reduce global warming. It would also prevent “255,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labor, and 26 million tons of crop losses” globally, every year.