The Biden administration on Wednesday hosted its first-ever White House Methane Summit, which coincided with the launch of a Cabinet-level task force aimed at “advanc[ing] a whole-of-government approach to proactive methane leak detection and data transparency, and support state and local efforts to mitigate and enforce methane emissions regulations.”
The event at the White House primarily convened organizations that have focused on technologies to detect and fix methane leaks from the oil and gas system, including several organizations launching satellites whose purpose will be to identify and measure methane leak events, as well as groups like the BlueGreen Alliance, which convenes environmental and labor interests.
Notably, methane gas industry representatives were not invited to participate in the event on Wednesday, though producers and lobbyists have had no shortage of opportunities to speak with the administration.
While the summit and launch of the task force were welcomed by climate advocates and applauded for spotlighting methane, some noted that truly addressing methane’s crisis-level impact on climate change demands the Biden administration demonstrate greater commitment to decarbonization.
“The harms to climate and the health of communities on the frontline of oil and gas extraction are nothing short of dire. This administration … must move forward with more accountability for industry and the inclusion of environmental justice communities as stakeholders,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director at Earthworks, one of the organizations that took part in Wednesday’s summit.
“The administration’s commitment to methane reduction is important. But in order to live up to President Biden’s climate and justice goals, he must declare a climate emergency and stop the buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure.”