European Commission methane strategy only scratches the surface, says Jutta Paulus MEP

The methane strategy of the European Commission does not live up to the climate protection promise of the European Green Deal, say European Greens.

The Commission itself writes that methane emissions must be reduced by 35 percent in order to achieve 55 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. However, the measures presented on Wednesday will not significantly reduce methane emissions and do not herald the phase-out of fossil fuels.

The EU Commission does not envisage any binding measures at all for agriculture, the biggest cause of methane emissions, and hardly any progress is planned for emissions from the extraction and infrastructure of gas, oil and coal, or from the waste sector. No changes are planned for biogas production from food, which releases large quantities of methane.

The European Commission only scratches the surface and limits itself to minor issues like plugging methane leaks and statistics. Counting emissions does not help when the order of the day is to reduce them. With this methane strategy, the EU Commission will miss its self-imposed climate goal of 55 percent less emissions and climate neutrality by 2050. Monitoring and testing is not enough; we need clear targets and objectives to reduce methane emissions in the energy industry, in the agricultural sector and in waste and wastewater treatment. The EU Commission leaves it at improving the data situation, long overdue obligations and, in particular, releases the agricultural sector from its responsibility. We miss a clear announcement to end the counterproductive use of cultivated biomass such as corn or other food for biogas plants. We need an amendment to the Renewable Energies Directive and not just new funding measures. The only ray of hope is the announcement to take a closer look at the supply chain for oil and gas. We call on the EU Commission to set standards and introduce certification procedures as soon as possible.

Jutta Paulus MEP

Methane causes 24 percent of global warming and is a precursor of ground-level ozone. This makes methane a problem for climate, environment and health. 59 percent of methane emissions are man-made. In the EU, agriculture accounts for 53 percent of these emissions, more than half, followed by waste management with more than a quarter (26 percent) and the energy sector with around a fifth (19 percent).

Image: European Parliament

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