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EU Passes Legislation Imposing A Methane Emissions Cap On Imports Of Fossil Fuels

EU Passes Legislation Imposing A Methane Emissions Cap On Imports Of Fossil Fuels
Early on Wednesday, the European Union came to an agreement on a regulation that would limit the amount of methane emissions that can be imported into Europe starting in 2030. This will put pressure on foreign suppliers to tighten up on leaks of the potent greenhouse gas.
Following all-night negotiations, representatives of EU member states and the European Parliament reached a consensus on a regulation that will, starting in 2030, compel importers of coal, gas and crude oil into Europe to demonstrate that their fuels comply with a methane intensity limit.
The European Parliament and the member states of the EU will now have the last say on the legislation. In most cases, that stage is a formality that passes via agreements already made.
The EU council said in a statement that the legislation also adds additional standards for the coal, oil, and gas sectors to measure, record, and verify methane emissions.
The agreement restricts the majority of incidents of flaring and venting, in which businesses purposefully burn off or release undesired methane into the atmosphere, and requires oil and gas producers in Europe to locate and seal leaks of the potent greenhouse gas in their operations.
Russia, Algeria, and the United States are the main gas suppliers that are expected to be impacted by the import regulations. After Moscow cut back on supplies to Europe last year, Norway—whose supply has some of the lowest methane intensities in the world—has taken over as Europe's top pipeline gas provider.
Methane has a much greater short-term warming effect than carbon dioxide and is the second largest contributor to climate change. In order to prevent catastrophic climate change, it is imperative that methane emissions be drastically reduced this decade.
Oil and gas fields have infrastructure and pipeline leaks that release methane into the environment.
Financial penalties could be imposed on foreign suppliers who fail to clean up their operations. A year before to its implementation, the European Commission will determine the precise methane emissions limit for the EU.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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