Europe Outlines Bold New Climate Vision, While Underscoring Value of Methane Emission Reductions

EDF Statement from Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President, Climate and Poppy Kalesi, Director of Global Energy Policy

December 11, 2019

(BRUSSELS) The European Commission today published its much-awaited “European Green Deal”. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the package, with support from Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, in a European Parliament plenary and reconfirmed her commitment to make the EU the first climate-neutral continent.

“With the European Green Deal, European Commission President von der Leyen is demonstrating EU leadership on climate ambition, both through the commitment to climate neutrality by 2050 and by proposing to increase the EU’s Paris Agreement target to a 55% reduction below 1990 by 2030. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) will continue to be the EU’s cornerstone policy for delivering on this ambition. We look forward to seeing how these commitments will be implemented as EU law,” said Nathaniel Keohane, EDF Senior Vice President, Climate.

Keohane added, “With the impacts of climate change becoming more apparent by the day, it is critical that other countries come forward to increase their ambition in advance of COP26 in Glasgow next year.”

“On gas, the European Green Deal showed political honesty by focusing on high-impact, actionable priorities where the EU has leverage to curtail climate-damaging emissions. Oil and gas methane emissions is one area where the EU can apply its market power to exert positive change globally, both through methane legislation and diplomacy,” said Poppy Kalesi, EDF Policy Director, Global Energy. “Methane legislation is not just a nice-to-have – it is integral to Europe’s ability to meet its 2030 and 2050 targets and ensure that the Paris Agreement is a success.”

Kalesi added, “Addressing methane is a no brainer for EU policy-makers who want to show that they listened to unprecedented citizen concerns about climate and the Commission should be congratulated on this first step. The ball is now in the Parliament’s and Council’s court to deliver effective policy and legislative action to curb methane emissions all along the EU’s gas supply chain – including oil and gas production, imports, transport and use.”

Methane is 84-87 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first twenty years after release and is responsible for at least 25% of the global warming we experience today, with the oil and gas industry producing about 25% of global anthropogenic methane emissions. The International Energy Agency has said that the industry can achieve a 75% reduction in methane emissions with current technologies – and up to two-thirds are achievable at no net cost.

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