President Biden said Friday the United States and the European Union will target a 30% reduction in global methane emissions versus 2005 levels by 2030.

methane emissions

The president unveiled the Global Methane Pledge in an address kicking off the virtually held Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.

President Biden urged fellow world leaders to sign onto the pledge ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) scheduled for November in Glasgow.

The methane pledge follows President Biden’s announcement in April that the United States will target a 50-52% reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

He said Friday the cuts “will not only rapidly reduce the rate of global warming,” but also produce side benefits “like improving public health and agricultural output…

“We’ve already taken big steps domestically to tackle these emissions and create good-paying jobs.” He cited as an example the plugging of orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells.

The methane pledge is ambitious but realistic, said the president, adding, “we urge you to join us in announcing this pledge at COP 26.”

He noted, “We also have to make additional progress to support developing countries.” 

In the April announcement, made as part of the Leaders Summit on Climate, Biden said developed nations must collectively mobilize $100 billion annually of public and private financing for climate solutions in the developing world.

Environmental groups welcomed Friday’s announcement.

“Cutting methane pollution is the single fastest, most effective strategy we have to slow the rate of global warming,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. “The benefits will be almost immediate.”

Krupp said, “The pledge represents an important test for countries heading into the November climate talks in Glasgow. A 30% reduction in methane pollution is the entry point for this critical conversation.”

Ceres senior director Andrew Logan, who oversees oil and gas at sustainability for the nonprofit, hailed the announcement as well. 

“Reducing methane emissions is the single most important tool we have to prevent warming in the near-term,” Logan said. “Publicly available oil and gas company data show wildly different emissions intensities between similarly sized operations. That has to stop if we hope to hit critical climate deadlines.”The American Petroleum Institute, the largest U.S. oil and gas trade organization, has called for direct federal regulation of methane emissions from the sector. The group pushed back, however, against a proposed tax on those emissions that is being considered in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.