A decade of discovery leads to our methane moment
Cutting methane emissions is the fastest opportunity we have to help avert our most acute climate risks, including crop loss, wildfires, extreme weather and rising sea levels. Thanks in large part to EDF’s persistent push on three critical fronts, we’re well-poised to reach our goal of reducing oil and gas methane emissions by 45% by 2030—the same near-term climate benefit as closing one-third of all the coal plants in the world.
Now—right now—is methane's moment. But this moment didn’t materialize out of thin air. Here's a brief look back at our 3-front campaign to cut methane emissions… and a look forward on where we're headed.
Leading with science and innovation
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. But EDF’s work in the lab, on the ground and in the sky continues to make it faster and cheaper than ever to locate, quantify and reduce emissions.
A bigger problem than we thought
EDF initiates largest body of peer-reviewed research on oil and gas methane (60 papers and counting), involving 140 scientists and industry partners. Studies reveal oil and gas methane pollution levels 60% higher than estimated.
Making the invisible visible
Using a special airborne infrared camera, EDF captured powerful footage of the largest methane leak in U.S. history near Los Angeles.
Accurately measuring methane’s impact
Science magazine publishes high-profile study by EDF and partner scientists calling for new metrics to account for methane’s impact on warming.
New tech finds hidden leaks
EDF teams with Google Earth Outreach to equip Google Street View cars with sensors to quickly and effectively identify methane leaks. Utilities across the country are now using advanced leak detection technology.
Going to space for a global view
EDF announces affiliate MethaneSAT, LLC will build a satellite that will measure global methane pollution with unprecedented scope and precision. MethaneSAT will be launch-ready in late 2022.
The fastest way to slow warming
New research led by EDF shows that a rapid, full-scale effort to reduce methane pollution could slow the worldwide rate of warming by as much as 30% and avoid half a degree Fahrenheit of warming by midcentury.
Bringing business along
The oil and gas industry is a huge source of methane pollution. Reducing methane pollution can be as simple as tightening a valve, but there are millions of oil and gas wells around the world and hundreds of thousands of miles of major pipelines. Finding and fixing these leaks is good business (lost gas equals wasted money) and critical for the planet.
Getting industry on board
The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, which EDF and partners helped create with companies responsible for 30% of global oil production, commits to reduce methane leaks to near zero, keeping 99.75% of gas in pipes and out of the atmosphere.
Mapping a major hotspot
EDF launches major research project to map methane pollution in the Permian Basin, the world’s largest oil and gas field. Initial findings indicate three times as much methane pollution as official estimates.
Business-as-usual is changing
Exxon shareholders vote to replace three board members with forward-thinking leaders who could help catalyze and accelerate a much-needed transition toward a clean energy future.
Forging policy to drive change
Science alone won’t mitigate methane’s impact. Neither can business. Stronger state and federal policies are needed to drive change and level the playing field. As the world’s largest oil and gas producer, the United States has both an opportunity and a responsibility to lead the way.
2014 - 2017
Making progress state-by-state
EDF and partners secure new rules to limit oil and gas methane pollution in CA, CO, OH, PA and WY, and our campaign leads to national methane reduction commitments from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Groundbreaking Federal guidelines
EDF and partners lead a successful effort to secure the first U.S. federal rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution.
Using policy to drive new tech
The PIPES Act of 2020, which EDF played a critical negotiating role, directs the U.S. government to require advanced methane leak detection technologies for gas pipes and infrastructure nationwide.
Regaining lost ground
EDF and partners secure federal legislation that restores and significantly expands methane pollution standards previously rolled back.
Bringing the world along
The European Union, the world’s largest importer of natural gas, and China, one of the world’s largest producers, make reducing methane pollution part of their national climate strategies after advocacy by EDF and partners.
What's our next bold move to meet the methane moment?
MethaneSAT: ready for launch in 2022
MethaneSAT will be the most advanced methane-tracking satellite in space, measuring methane emissions virtually anywhere on earth.Learn more
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