The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden on June 17, gathered together more than 20 of the largest economies in the world to discuss ways to decrease methane emissions.
The new measures come in an effort to counteract climate change and stabilize the world economy following Russia’s war on Ukraine.
During the forum, Biden said the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the need to have a “long-term reliable energy security and stability,” and has led to a “global energy crisis.”
The U.S. and EU are now in their next stage of curbing methane emissions by 30% by 2030, Biden said. The so-called energy pathway will look for ways to remove production flaring in fossil fuel operations and will put emphasis on reducing methane pollution in the oil and gas industry.
“Each year our existing energy system leaks enough methane to meet the needs for the entire European power sector,” Biden said. We flare enough gas to offset nearly all of the EU’s gas imports from Russia. So by stopping the leaking and flaring of the super potent greenhouse gas and capturing this resource for countries that need it, we’re addressing two problems at once.”
A new initiative across multiple countries is working on raising $90 billion for decarbonization technologies. $21.5 billion in U.S. funds have already been approved by Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
“A critical point is that these actions are part of our transition to a clean and secure long-term energy future,” Biden said.
Biden’s climate agenda is still stalled in the U.S. Congress, and the President said no immediate actions can decrease the gas prices – which recently reached a record $5 a gallon on average – in the country.
The largest climate meeting before the upcoming COP27 this November, the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate gathered virtually 23 world leaders, including those of the EU, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. Several other countries also took part.
Reducing methane emissions – which are 80 times more powerful than CO2 emissions in the short term – is both a needed and relatively easy means to oppose climate change.
Biden made a non-binding zero-emissions vehicles target to have half of the vehicles sold in the USA electric or hybrid by 2030. Meanwhile, the EU is considering banning new combustion engine vehicles by 2035.
China was represented at the forum by its climate envoy Xie Zhenhua. Zhenhua and U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry had met several times in the past month to discuss their agreement to increase climate efforts, a senior official reported.
When the U.S. president rejoined the Paris Agreement after assuming office, he introduced an ambitious goal to cut U.S. emissions by half by 2030 as compared to 2005.
Rhodium Group, an independent research firm, reported three milestones that need to be achieved to do that. One is huge investments in green energy that should pass through Congress; the other is ambitious regulations on industry, power plants, and vehicle emissions; and the third one is notable progress on a state level. According to the Rhodium report, little progress has been achieved and time is running out.
Among the things still left undone is a package on climate and green energy passing through Congress, which has to happen fast as democrats may lose majority in November.
Another thing stopping progress is the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to control power plant greenhouse gas emissions.