UNEP, oil majors pledge to reduce methane emissions

By Bai LinUnreguser

NAIROBI, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The UN Environment Program (UNEP) on Monday joined forces with major oil and gas companies to promote lowering of methane emissions into the atmosphere through improved monitoring and reporting.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UNEP, said that proactive engagement with multinational oil firms is key to reducing emission of planet-warming gases like methane and responding effectively to the climate crisis.

"To win the race to net-zero emissions, we need everyone on board. We need ambitious action from the oil and gas industry," Andersen said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

She said that multilateral institutions will rally behind efforts by oil majors to improve transparency in reporting methane emissions, adding that such a move will be a game-changer in the global climate response.

"We look forward to seeing actions that turn commitment into actual emissions reduction," said Andersen.

The European Commission (EC) and international green advocacy group, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), are part of the initiative between UNEP and big oil to promote transparency on reporting about methane emissions.

Already, 62 companies that represent 30 percent of the world's oil and gas production and have assets spread across five continents, have enlisted in the partnership to strengthen climate response through reduced emission of gases responsible for global warming.

These companies are members of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) which is a Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) initiative led by UNEP, the European Commission and the Environmental Defense Fund.

It is expected the partnership will enable policymakers, investors and civil society to track and compare methane emission reduction progress among multinational oil giants.

According to UNEP, methane when released into the atmosphere without restrictions has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

However, industry-led actions to cut methane emissions will complement ongoing efforts to decarbonize the world's energy and transport systems while boosting air quality.

"I am happy to see the energy industry taking immediate action on methane emissions," said Kadri Simson, EU Energy commissioner.

"A clear commitment to measure and monitor emissions is an important first step for significantly reducing them, and I am proud of what we have achieved together," she added.

Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund hailed the oil majors for taking practical steps to lower methane emissions adding that it will boost action on the global climate crisis.

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