Methane Takes Center Stage at COP26 as World Leaders Rally Around Pledge; Powerful Pollutant Recognized as Critical Path to Safer Future

Statement of Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

November 2, 2021
Matt McGee, (512) 691-3478,

(Glasgow, Scotland) Methane pollution from fossil fuel operations, agriculture and other industries emerged as a key focal point in the international climate talks known as COP26 as more than 100 countries, representing two-thirds of the global economy pledged to cut methane emissions 30% by 2030 as a core part of their climate strategies.

“Putting methane at the top of the agenda for these talks is a critical move that will improve the lives of millions at home and around the world by holding off climate chaos. It will be one of the major success stories of the Glasgow talks. Cutting methane pollution is the fastest way there is to slow the warming as we continue the transition to cleaner, safer, healthier energy systems. The challenge for the U.S. and other countries now will be to go home and make good on these ambitious goals as fast as they possibly can.”

  • Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

Methane from these sources is responsible for at least 25% of today’s unprecedented warming. Reducing methane emissions has become widely recognized as the fastest way to slow climate change.

The announcement, led by U.S. President Biden and European Commission President Von der Leyen, reflects new consensus that methane reductions must be a core element to global efforts to limit temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C. The action follows an IPCC report in August warning that the Paris climate goals would be out of reach without deep cuts in methane pollution.

As a down payment on its commitment, the U.S. unveiled a sweeping new set of actions to cut methane pollution from multiple industries, starting with the formal introduction of rules to sharply limit methane from thousands of oil and gas wells, pipelines and other facilities. The oil and gas sector offers the largest most cost-effective opportunities to achieve reductions quickly, a fact that many in the industry itself have acknowledged.

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