Energy Exchange

Harnessing Europe’s climate diplomacy and energy policy to drive down methane worldwide

With the forthcoming EU Methane Strategy and a flurry of other energy proposals expected in the coming months, Europe has an incredible opportunity to lead — not just domestically but internationally — when it comes to reducing oil and gas methane emissions.

This is the single most effective thing we can do to limit temperature rise in the near term as we transition to a climate neutral future over the coming decades.

Europe’s leadership on methane emissions would be based on its market position as the largest importer of internationally traded gas in the world, as well as its strong technical expertise and ambition for climate action.

Unlike some other issues where policy objectives can run up against the realities of international politics, Europe’s market position provides the EU with leverage to shape behavior and actions beyond its borders.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

EU must take on its methane problem before turning to hydrogen

Facing dangerous levels of warming, Europe aspires to achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The oil and gas industry want us to believe natural gas can play a constructive role in this green energy future. And right now, these companies are lining up behind the idea that European Union policymakers should invest heavily in new incentives for hydrogen as a way to store and deliver energy for transport and the electric system.

Hydrogen separated from water using renewable electricity — so called ‘green hydrogen’ — might be economically viable someday. But for now, the cheapest way to make hydrogen is by converting natural gas. Natural gas is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions; it also consists mostly of methane, which is itself a greenhouse pollutant, with over 80 times the near-term warming power of carbon dioxide.

When it comes to climate change and achieving a net-zero carbon future, natural gas solves nothing unless both carbon dioxide and methane emissions associated with its production, distribution and use are fully controlled. Opening up a whole new market for converting gas to hydrogen without clearly establishing how those emissions will be dealt with would only make a serious problem much worse.

The European Commission recently released two major energy policy strategies in which methane and role of natural gas are at issue.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Methane: Europe’s missing link for effective energy decarbonization

The EU Sector Integration Strategy, expected in June, has become the top energy policy issue this year, and it will define the role of gas in Europe’s current and future transitions.

In recent weeks, there have been increasing calls for Europe’s gas decarbonization to focus on hydrogen and renewable gases, while saying very little — if anything — about energy-related methane emissions. Yet according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reducing methane is a critical complement to reducing carbon dioxide emissions if we are to reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals and stabilize the climate.

The commission’s plan thus far seems to be taking a cross-sector approach in addressing methane emissions across energy, agriculture and waste. It is sensible, given that human-made methane emissions from oil and gas, agriculture and other sources are responsible for over a quarter of the warming our planet is experiencing now.

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Also posted in Climate, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Now more than ever, it’s time for strong EU standards on methane emissions

As European Union leaders begin the transition from COVID-19 rescue to economic recovery, the need to build back better is taking center stage. Already, national governments representing over 65% of the EU’s population have insisted that leaders stick with the European Green Deal. Their resolve underscores the importance of leadership, resilience and science-based decision making in the face of the gravest health emergency of our time.

These national governments know that the EGD will help usher in a thriving, sustainable European economy that creates good jobs for working people. And they understand the tragic lesson of the COVID-19 crisis: that all nations must heed scientific warnings about public health and security. The scientific community’s clarion call on climate change, and the role of methane pollution in driving near-term warning, should be at the top of the agenda.

For the oil and gas industry, this means that a key component of the post-COVID recovery is the establishment of stringent standards to certify very low methane emissions for all gas used in the EU. Without such standards, the case for “cleaner-burning” natural gas evaporates; over the first 20 years, methane is 80 times more potent than CO2 in driving planetary warming. That’s why the European Commission’s forthcoming methane proposal presents a window that energy companies must take — and an ESG opportunity that investors cannot afford to ignore.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

The next major ESG opportunity for investors in Europe

In recent years, institutional investors have demonstrated their formidable influence, as companies respond to investor environmental, social and governance demands and governments take note of forceful investor calls to action. Europe’s leading investors have been especially active, stepping to the vanguard to address the climate crisis with a sense of urgency and injection of ambition.

As Europe pursues its bold “Green Deal,” European investors have a powerful chance to help address a climate blind spot and policy vacuum to ensure worthy climate goals are not derailed. Investors can do so in a way that generates shareholder value while mitigating one of the largest near-term sources of climate risk. The opportunity lies in addressing methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry, which emits more than 75 million metric tons of the greenhouse gas every year.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Three key questions for EU policymakers considering the sustainability of gas

In response to DG Energy’s invitation that the European gas industry investigate the ways it can contribute to the reduction of methane, a powerful climate pollutant, two prominent trade groups issued a new report to inform policy discussions around the 2020 gas package – also touted as the decarbonisation package – ahead of the 32nd Madrid Forum in Spain this week.

At nearly 150 pages, the Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) and Marcogaz report is a substantial review of best practices for reducing oil and gas methane emissions. For all of its heft, however, the report does little to spell out any relevant policy recommendations to improve the industry’s overall efficiency, skirting its responsibility to advise the Commission on methane policy when it is such a pressing sustainability question to answer in the Union Methane Strategy before the end of 2019.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed