US to tackle methane leaks from oil and gas wells

US to tackle methane leaks from oil and gas wells
Flames from a flaring pit near a well in America's Bakken Oil Field. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The United States is set to announce steps to prevent millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas methane from entering the atmosphere.

The measures will target methane leaking from oil and gas rigs across the country.

Methane gas is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and is responsible for a third of current warming from human activities.

A global partnership to cut methane gas is to be announced at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Dozens of countries have joined the initiative led by the EU and the US to cut emissions of the gas by at least 30% by 2030, compared with 2020 levels. However, India, Russia and China – some of the world’s top methane emitters – are not among them.

The main focus of efforts to curb global warming is carbon dioxide, which is emitted as a result of human activities such as generating power and clearing forests.

But there has been a growing focus on methane as a way of buying extra time to tackle climate change. Although there’s more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and it sticks around for longer, individual methane molecules have a more powerful warming effect on the atmosphere than single CO2 molecules.

US President Joe Biden will announce his plan at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, where countries are trying to hammer out plans to limit global warming in order to avoid a climate catastrophe by the end of this century.

In the US, the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of methane emissions. The industry is responsible for approximately 30% of total emissions of the gas, the White House says.

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