Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) together with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), the European Gas Research Group (GERG) and associations MARCOGAZ and Eurogas are joining efforts to develop a paper on the actions taken by the gas system operators to mitigate methane emissions.
Methane emissions associated with gas system operators’ activities represented less than 0.5 per cent of the total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 and around 4 per cent of total methane emissions. Since 1990 methane emissions from the gas sector decreased by 61 per cent, partly thanks to mitigation measures. In light of climate neutrality being a top priority for the EU, gas system operators are committed to undertaking even stronger steps to achieve further emissions reductions.
“To lower emissions even further, it is crucial to keep raising awareness while enhancing collaboration among sectors and regions,” the paper reads. “Improving detection and quantification technologies, mitigation techniques and sharing good practices represent a clear opportunity to continue paving the way towards climate neutrality via methane emissions reduction.”
In October 2020, the European Commission released its strategy to reduce methane emissions in the EU and a legislative proposal for the energy sector is expected by the end of this year. In addition, earlier in September, the EU and the United States announced the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions to be launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November in Glasgow.
Important efforts are also being implemented to improve the reliability of the methane emissions data and to minimise them through mandatory and voluntary programmes and initiatives, such as OGMP 2.0 and the Methane Guiding Principles.
“Methane emissions account for a quarter of today’s global warming,” commented Scott Foster, Director of the Sustainable Energy Division at UNECE. “Their climate impact is second only to carbon dioxide, so managing methane emissions is an imperative for achieving climate-neutrality. Reducing methane emissions will benefit society, the environment and the economy by reducing the costs of the energy transition. European energy infrastructure has a crucial role to play in managing methane emissions and enabling the needed transition.”
On top of further mitigating emissions, gas infrastructure operators also have an important role to play in the energy transition by accommodating low-carbon and renewable gases. This will further speed up the transition to a climate-neutral economy.