The United States on Tuesday (November 2) unveiled a plan to slash emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from oil and gas operations as part of its broader strategy to crack down on climate change, drawing cautious support from both environmental groups and drillers.
The announcement coincided with the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where the United States, the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, is seeking to reclaim leadership on the world stage by demonstrating tangible steps to curb emissions at home.
U.S. President Joe Biden has set a target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030 but is struggling to pass major climate legislation through a deeply divided Congress, making policies by federal agencies more crucial.
His administration and the European Union are also seeking to lead a new international pact to reduce methane by 30% by 2030, drawing participation from over 100 countries.
Methane is the second-biggest cause of climate change after carbon dioxide. Its high heat-trapping potential and relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere means cutting its emissions can have an outsized impact on the trajectory of the world’s climate.
(Production: Jane Ross)