The Biden administration rolled out broad new regulations that it said will substantially reduce U.S. methane emissions within 15 years.
The sweeping regulations would cut methane emissions, which account for roughly 10% of the greenhouse gasses emitted by the U.S., by 41 million tons between 2023 and 2035, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday. Such a reduction is equivalent to 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the amount emitted by all cars and commercial aircraft in 2019.
“As global leaders convene at this pivotal moment in Glasgow for COP26, it is now abundantly clear that America is back and leading by example in confronting the climate crisis with bold ambition,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
Some of the world’s top emitters of methane haven’t signed a global effort to curb how much of the greenhouse gas is emitted by 2030.
The three countries – China, Russia and India – that produce the most methane emissions in the world haven’t signed onto the pact, which has been spearheaded by the U.S. and European Union ahead of a major United Nations climate conference. The nations that have signed the agreement represent nearly 30% of global methane emissions, the State Department said Monday.
The U.S. and EU unveiled the Global Methane Pledge on Sept. 18, which they said would be key in the global fight against climate change. The U.K., Italy, Mexico and Argentina were among the seven other countries that immediately signed the agreement last month.
The Methane Emissions Reduction Act of 2021 has been proposed as a “pay-for” – a source of revenue – in the reconciliation infrastructure package. It would impose a “fee” on methane emissions from natural gas and petroleum production systems and related processes, but not on such emissions from agricultural and other operations. Accordingly, it is worse than a mere money grab: it’s a blatant exercise in punitive politics directed at the fossil-fuel energy sector, a tax on conventional energy.
Not so, says Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), as summarized by the Washington Examiner:
“This is not a tax. It’s a fee on natural gas waste,” adding oil and gas operators have the technologies to combat methane leaks at low cost. “The smart players want to prevent waste because they can capitalize it to make money. Customers won’t be paying a fee on gas delivered. The only fee will be paid [by an operator] on what doesn’t make it to the consumer.”
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday a plan to loosen federal rules governing methane emissions, a move that could be a boon for some energy providers and setback for environmentalists, the agency said in a statement.