Sunday, July 21, 2024

New EU Methane Regulation to reduce harmful emissions from fossil fuels in Europe and abroad

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The first-ever EU rules to curb methane emissions from the energy sector in Europe and across the globe have become legislation today. This adoption marks another step in the implementation of the European Green Deal and REPowerEU. It shows Europe’s determination to tackle harmful emissions at home and internationally. 

The new regulation obliges the fossil gas, oil and coal industry in Europe to measure, monitor, report and verify their methane emissions according to the highest monitoring standards, and to take action to reduce them. It requires EU gas, oil and coal operators to stop avoidable and routine flaring and to reduce flaring and venting to situations such as emergencies, technical malfunctions or when it is necessary for safety reasons.

With Europe importing a large part of the fossil energy it consumes, the regulation will also help to reduce methane emissions from imported fossil fuels. The regulation will progressively introduce more stringent requirements to ensure that exporters gradually apply the same monitoring, reporting and verification obligations as EU operators.

The new rules require the Commission to put in place a monitoring tool on global methane emitters to provide information, based on satellite data, on the magnitude, occurrence and location of high methane-emitting sources occurring within or outside the EU.

The Commission will also set up a rapid alert mechanism for ‘super-emitting’ events, namely incidents where facilities, equipment or infrastructure emit very high rates of methane. The mechanism will act as an early warning system to detect super emitting events and alert the EU or non-EU country in order for action to be taken to stop or prevent them. 

Welcoming the final adoption of the regulation, the European Commission for Energy, Kadri Simson said

 ‘Methane is the second highest contributor to global warming and air pollution after CO2, accounting for around a third of greenhouse gas emissions, harming both our environment and our health. With the final EU adoption of the methane regulation we now have means to get clearer insight into the main sources of methane emissions in the energy sector. This will increase transparency and provide the tools necessary to reduce these potent emissions, both in the EU and globally’.

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