Fossil fuels sector solutions

The single fastest most cost-effective way to slow the rate of global warming

Fossil fuels are at the heart of the climate crisis. Winding down production and mass-use of fossil fuels by at least 6% per year is essential to avoiding the most catastrophic climate warming scenarios.  

Transitioning to renewable energy sources is underway, but it will take more time to make significant inroads. In the short-term the climate warming impact of fossil fuels can be significantly reduced through action to eliminate methane emitted during the process of extracting and processing fossil fuels. 

The fossil fuels sector is the second largest emitter of methane (35%) after agriculture. Due to methane’s far more powerful impact on warming – 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period – reductions in methane emissions can slow the rate of near-term warming. 

Eliminating fossil fuel methane emissions represents a major opportunity to reduce the sector’s immediate climate impact and improve corporate social responsibility.  

Black carbon emitted during fossil fuel extraction also has potent short-term climate warming and other impacts on human health, ecosystems, and agriculture. This includes increasing the rate of snow and ice melt in polar and mountainous regions – an effect which can initiate dangerous climate tipping points by absorbing more and more of the sun’s heat on the earth’s surface.   

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Main emissions Sources

Methane emissions in the fossil fuel sector mainly occur during the extraction, processing, and transportation of natural gas, coal, and oil. Accidental or designed leaks in gas infrastructure emit large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, while the process of flaring natural gas emits large amounts of both black carbon and methane. Methane also escapes from active and disused coal mines.  


The 2021 Global Methane Assessment found that to be consistent with 1.5˚C scenarios, by 2030 methane from the fossil fuel sector needs be reduced by 65% (55% - 75%) compared to 2010 levels.   

Applying current technically feasible mitigation measures could achieve around 65%-70% reductions (from 2010 levels) from oil production, coal mines, and gas distribution by 2030. Fossil fuel production also comprises around 3% of black carbon emissions, which could be eliminated by ending non-emergency flaring and/or using more efficient flaring practices and technology. 

Regulation of the oil and gas industry to improve infrastructure standards and practices related to methane venting and flaring is the main mechanism being implemented by CCAC partners.
The CCAC has helped countries such as Nigeria, Mexico, and Colombia adopt regulations that force companies to conduct methane leak detection and repair measures, install vapour units to capture and utilise fugitive emissions and annual, and raise efficiency standards for flaring and venting. Third-party verification is also important to ensure transparency and accountability. 


  • Carry out pre-mining de-gasification and recovery and oxidation of methane from ventilation air from coal mines 

  • Reduce leakage from long-distance gas transmission and distribution pipelines 

  • Extend recovery and utilisation from gas and oil production 

  • Recover and use gas and fugitive emissions during oil and natural gas production 

Black carbon 

  • Improve flaring efficiency in oil and gas production 


Reducing methane emissions from the fossil fuels sector is the easiest way to reduce human-sourced methane emissions. In addition to improving the corporate social responsibility of the oil and gas industry, capturing lost methane has net-negative costs. 

Estimates show that the possible methane reductions from the fossil fuels sector could avoid 0.14˚C of additional warming – an important contribution to limiting warming to within 1.5°C.

As methane is a potent contributor to tropospheric ozone (03) production, reducing fossil fuel methane would help prevent 151,460 premature deaths due to reduced 03 exposure. CCAC partner countries who are implementing tighter methane regulations have sighted the indirect benefits for human health and agriculture as main concerns driving their actions, in addition to action on atmospheric warming. 

What we do

The CCAC is an active advocate for governments to prioritise methane and black carbon reductions from the fossil fuel sector. 

Despite the advanced knowledge compiled in the Global Methane Assessment, data on the extent and distribution of methane emissions is still not adequate. To address this, we also support data collection and profiling for the sector and encourage all partners to measure and report their methane and black carbon emissions (direct and fugitive).  

To include all stakeholders in these discussions, we facilitate networking and the sharing of best practices on methane and black carbon management amongst governments, oil companies, and expert organisations.  

In 2014, we created a voluntary initiative to help companies reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, known as the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP). In 2020 the OGMP was relaunched with a more ambitious and comprehensive reporting framework for the 100 oil and gas companies involved as of 2023. The goal of the OGMP is to help the oil and gas industry enhance corporate social responsibility and achieve significant reductions in mineral methane emissions over the next decade in a way that is transparent to civil society and governments. 

Through our Fossil Fuel Hub and project funding we also support training, the development of monitoring and reporting techniques, knowledge and technology transfers, and support for developing and enforcing regulatory approaches. 

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