COP26: Gas producers urged to cut methane emissions

The International Gas Union (IGU) is calling on the countries to reduce methane emissions ahead of the upcoming COP26 where the issue will feature prominently in the climate and energy global discourse.

The urgency to reduce atmospheric methane emissions is undeniable, says the IGU, a gas producers club that includes Nigeria.

“Reducing the global methane emissions is the right thing to do. It provides an opportunity to secure a sustainable energy future, where natural gas today, and more and more low carbon, renewable, hydrogen, and decarbonised gases in the future, will play a vital role,” the organisation said in a release.

The world needs a collective approach to prioritise achieving the biggest reduction in atmospheric methane in the shortest period of time.

“The gas industry is committed, like no other, to prevent the loss of its product. However, we cannot do it alone, nor would methane be sufficiently reduced even if it did. This is not a zero-sum game. It is a matter of public good and shared responsibility,” the association said.

The organisation has published a paper urging its members to ramp efforts at mitigating methane emissions and highlighting the benefits.

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According to the IGU, Mitigating methane emissions from its operations provides an opportunity to enhance the environmental and commercial case for gas even further. It makes all kinds of sense. While safety was the primary initial motivating factor, the net result was a significant reduction of emissions throughout the global industry.

“No two gas systems are created equal – around the world, and across the value chain, and the costs and complexity of mitigation can vary immensely based on that. Still, as science, technology and environmental urgency rapidly advance, so do the industry’s efforts to go above and beyond existing baselines. From individual targets to group initiatives, the gas industry has shown both commitment and action – often via voluntary and highly ambitious initiatives,” it said.

The IGU said the gas industry cannot do it alone. The global gas industry is only a single source of global methane emissions, amongst many. Namely, the global gas industry contributes somewhere between 6 and 8% of the total atmospheric methane emissions, and about 13% of the manmade part. That is very significant, but often it seems that the gas industry is wrongly portrayed to be the only, or the main, source.

However, the organisation says delaying action to reduce global methane emissions is not an option.

“The main goal should be achieving the maximum possible reductions in the shortest possible time; that means economy-wide and outcome-oriented approaches to mitigating, including opportunities across sectors should be prioritised.”

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