24 new countries join pact to combat methane

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Twenty-four new countries – including Germany, Canada, France, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines – have joined an initiative of the EU and the US to reduce emissions of climate-damaging methane.

The expansion of the pact was announced by the European Commission and the US State Department on Monday.

According to EU Environment Commissioner Frans Timmerns, methane is the second most harmful greenhouse gas and is responsible for global warming and air pollution.

During a meeting online with Timmermans and US Climate Change Envoy John Kerry, the countries committed to the common goal of reducing methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 compared to 2020, the statement said.

The pact is to be officially signed at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month.

Methane is produced, for example, in agriculture, from landfills or in the oil and gas industry.

According to statistics of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cited by the European Commission, methane is responsible for half of the climate warming of about 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.

According to the commission, the list of new signatories means that nine of the 20 countries with the highest methane emissions – responsible for 30 per cent of global emissions – are expected to participate in the initiative.

“Rapidly reducing methane emissions [is] the single most effective strategy to reduce near-term global warming and keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach,” Timmermans said.

US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had agreed on the methane initiative in September.

If it is successfully implemented, global warming could be reduced by around 0.2 degrees by 2050, according to the European Commission.

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