Is new methane declaration to cut emissions enough to deliver on the Global Methane Pledge?

A new methane initiative announced at the UN climate summit in Egypt lacks the teeth to help deliver on the Global Methane Pledge unveiled at last year’s event in Glasgow.

John Kerry, US special envoy for climate, unveiled the new initiative late on Friday alongside the EU, UK, Japan, Canada, Norway and Singapore at the 27th Conference of the Parties (CoP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm El-Sheikh.

But EIA Climate Campaigner Kim O’Dowd warned: “’With this initiative, signatories are just supplementing a promise with yet another promise, with no accountability mechanisms or means of implementation. It’s not enough.

“Overall, this declaration lacks the key components to deliver on its goals, such as concrete and binding objectives, mandatory reporting, monitoring and verification, national actions plans and targeted financial support to ensure implementation.

“We have only a few years to give humanity a shot at staying within a 1.5°C global temperature rise and we have no time for more pledges or declarations. What the world desperately needs now are real actions and commitments – something far more meaningful to address the ongoing crisis.”

O’Dowd further cautioned that the declaration could also be used by fossil fuel importers to release themselves from their responsibilities under the notion that emissions associated with imports are being adequately addressed.

“Take the European Union, for example,” she said. “About 90 per cent of the fossil gas it consumes is imported and the vast majority of methane emissions associated with its consumption happen long before the methane crosses EU borders.

“The EU had a real opportunity to address this problem under the EU Methane Regulation, but instead of concrete measures on imports, the European Commission turned a blind eye to the problem – which makes new initiative very unsettling, especially given that the European Parliament and Council are debating whether additional measures on imports are needed.

“In addition, the declaration also focuses exclusively on the energy sector, leaving aside methane emissions from agriculture and waste, which jointly represent about 60 per cent of human-driven methane emissions.

“This new declaration is nowhere near enough to deliver on the urgent need for mitigation in each of the main methane-emitting sectors, which will help protect the people and the planet. We cannot wait for another CoP to deliver on the promises made with the Global Methane Pledge. Negotiations for a global methane agreement, which EIA is already working on, have to start now.”