Concept Note on the Global Alliance to Significantly Reduce Methane Emissions in the Oil and Gas Sector by 2030...
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Methane is a powerful driving force behind the global climate crisis. While in our atmosphere, it has a Global Warming Potential 80 times that of carbon dioxide and is responsible for about a quarter of today’s global warming. If the world is to reach the 1.5°C (or even a 2°C) global temperature target, deep reductions in methane emissions must be achieved by 2030 as part of holistic efforts to meet climate goals under the Paris Agreement.
Methane also reduces air quality because it is an ingredient in the formation of ground level (tropospheric) ozone, a dangerous air pollutant that is responsible for approximately 1 million deaths per year from respiratory diseases like asthma. Ozone also damages plants causing 79 -121 million tons of crop loses annually. But because methane is only in the atmosphere 10 to 12 years – actions to reduce methane emissions can rapidly reduce the rate of warming while also delivering air quality benefits.
The oil and gas sector is one of the largest man-made emission sources, responsible for 24% of global anthropogenic methane emissions. The latest data shows that around 3.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas escaped into the atmosphere in 2012 from global oil and gas operations. This wasted gas translates into roughly $30 billion of lost revenue at average 2012 delivered prices, and about 3% of global natural gas production.
In most cases, controlling methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is technologically feasible, generates income for companies, and contributes to reducing the climate footprint of oil and natural gas as the world transitions to a low carbon energy system.
During the UN Climate Summit this coming September, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition will call on governments to enhance ambition in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by joining a Global Alliance to significantly reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
Countries that join the Global Alliance will commit to either absolute methane reduction targets of at least 45% by 2025 and 60% - 75% by 2030 or to a “near zero” methane intensity target. These are realistic and achievable targets, especially in a sector where technology and financing are largely available, and innovation supports even larger reductions.
International organizations, NGOs and industry leaders that are part of the Global Alliance will support them in achieving those ambitious targets through policy support and sharing of knowledge, technologies, and best management practices.
Commitments at the UN Climate Summit will demonstrate the wide recognition from governments, civil society, and the industry that as long as oil and natural gas are part of the energy mix, it is imperative to improve their environmental performances.
The International Energy Agency estimates the industry could reduce its worldwide emissions by 75 percent—and that up to two-thirds of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost. In fact, managing methane is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways.
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