President Biden, speaking at COP27 today, will announce additional efforts to crack down on methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. The new rule, supplementing leak detection and monitoring requirements unveiled at COP26, covers wells emitting less than 3 tons of methane per year and requires drillers to address third-party leak reports. Multiple studies have found EPA undercounts methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
Methane, the main component in so-called “natural gas,” traps 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe, and the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of methane pollution in the U.S. Low-producing “marginal wells” release a disproportionate amount of the oil and gas industry’s methane pollution. Rapidly cutting methane pollution from fossil fuel operations is both a necessary and cost-effective component of any pathway to limiting global temperature heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial averages. (AP, Washington Post $, Reuters, The Hill, Politico Pro $)