Brussels: The European Union’s energy commissioner warned the bloc risks falling behind on its climate goals if countries persist in diluting rules on cutting methane emissions in the energy sector.
The admonition from Kadri Simson comes after the EU’s 27 member states agreed last year to reduce the frequency of site inspections from the European Commission’s original proposal to tackle emissions. Parliament is due to vote on the rules later this month.
“The abatement measures were substantially weakened,” Simson told the Parliament’s chief negotiator Jutta Paulus in a letter seen by Bloomberg News. “It is important that the legislation that we adopt on methane abatement does not put us behind many of our energy partners.”
The climate think tank Ember said in a report Thursday that major loopholes in the EU’s methane regulation would allow coal mines to release an additional 2.2 million metric tons of methane emissions by 2050, equivalent to the combined annual CO2 emissions of Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Other non-governmental groups have also shared their concerns over a weakening of the rules.
The EU is among 150 signatories to the Global Methane Pledge - an agreement to cut emissions of methane by 30 per cent - yet has said it will struggle to reach that level unless it does more to combat emissions, particularly in the agricultural sector.