The EU states want to take action against climate-damaging methane emissions in the oil, gas and coal industries with new regulations. The energy ministers of the member states today agreed on a negotiating position for a corresponding law.
Accordingly, operators would have to report methane emissions from coal mines or oil and gas wells. The EU states still have to negotiate the project with the EU Parliament before it can come into force.
Methane is the second most harmful greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide (CO2) and is responsible for global warming and air pollution. Although it stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time, it is more harmful than CO2. It is produced, for example, in agriculture, in landfills or in the oil and gas industry. "Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is responsible for about 30 percent of current global warming," says Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela, who chaired the energy ministers' meeting.
If the law comes into force, EU operators in the oil and gas industry would have to measure and report on methane emissions from their plants. Larger methane leaks would have to be regularly checked and repairs made in the plants. Venting or flaring, which releases methane into the atmosphere, should be banned. In addition, methane emissions from energy imports into the EU are to be tracked.
At the COP26 climate conference, the EU, along with dozens of other countries, committed to reducing methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2020.