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Reducing methane is key to mitigating climate crisis, says IEA

Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations is key to mitigating the worst impacts of the climate crisis, according to a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 84 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) in a 20-year time frame.

The IEA estimates that the oil and gas sector emitted around 70 Mt of methane in 2020, just over 5% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the report, new policy effort should focus on improving the measurement and reporting of emissions data, which can, in turn, lead to more efficient regulatory interventions.

Under the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), emissions from this sector will need to fall to around 20 Mt per year by 2030 – a drop of more than 70% from levels in 2020.

This 70% reduction coincides with the amount that would be technically possible to abate, according to the IEA Methane Tracker.

There is a significant information gap in many companies about methane, regarding both its environmental impacts and, more specifically, the level and sources of emissions from company operations.

Governments can address many of these barriers with policy and regulatory tools.

The IEA has identified ten steps that will assist regulators in selecting a regulatory approach and implementing a set of effective methane policies that match the local situation.

Step 1: Understand the legal and political context

Step 2: Characterise the nature of your industry

Step 3: Develop an emissions profile

Step 4: Build a regulatory capacity

Step 5: Engage stakeholders

Step 6: Define regulatory objectives

Step 7: Select the appropriate policy design

Step 8: Draft the policy

Step 9: Enable and enforce compliance

Step 10: Periodically review and refine your policy

In related news, a new certification process will aim to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production.

The framework will assess methane emissions management across three criteria: methane emissions intensity at a facility level; monitoring technology deployment; and company practices.

The MiQ certification will then be audited by a third party and will work to complement existing voluntary schemes.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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