Background: On Wednesday, October 11th, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report making clear that the ONLY way to avoid a climate catastrophe in our lifetimes is with immediate cuts to methane gas pollution from the oil and gas sector and a commitment from world leaders to phase out fossil fuels. It shows that no company or nation-state has yet done enough to cut methane gas emissions, that methane pollution continues to rise, and methane mitigation must be coupled with a committed phase out of fossil energy. These findings put the Biden administration on notice to not only rapidly enact methane reduction standards but to stop to permitting domestic production and exports that potentially locks the US into remaining the leading climate polluter for decades to come. The need to couple methane reductions with a fossil fuel phase out also calls out the oil and gas industry’s rhetoric: the industry can only be part of the solution if they quickly make meaningful, time-bound commitments to stop all investment in new production and infrastructure.
Methane gas is a climate warming accelerant 80x more powerful at warming the climate in the short-term than carbon dioxide. Significantly decreasing methane pollution is one of the fastest ways to slow climate warming and provide immediate health improvements to communities on the frontlines of pollution, including preventing 1 million premature deaths due to ozone exposure.
Statement by Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel:
“The IEA says what Earthworks has long known. Preventing climate catastrophe requires the world to stop fossil fuel expansion and to do everything we can right now to cut methane gas pollution.
“In order to right historical injustices for those who have disproportionately experienced the harms of extraction — Indigenous and Black and Latino and poorer white communities in the US, specifically — we must aggressively and immediately cut pollution and manage the decline of the fossil fuel industry.
“This report discredits any attempt to use methane reduction efforts as an excuse to further permit fossil fuel expansion. It also gives President Biden sufficient justification to declare a climate emergency and steer the U.S. toward a sustainable, just energy future.”
For more information:
- Link to IEA report: Urgent action to cut methane emissions from fossil fuel operations essential to achieve global climate targets, 10/11/2023