On December 11 2019, Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the European Green Deal – a proposal designed to put the European Union on track to become the world first climate-neutral economy by 2050.
Methane, the second most important GHG, contributes to 25% of the anthropogenic warming that the planet is experiencing today, which makes it a natural candidate to focus on when it comes to emissions reduction. This highly potent (but short-lived) greenhouse gas accounts for roughly 10% of total EU GHGs mainly originating from agriculture, the waste sector, and the energy sector.
However, methane is at the same time the major component of natural gas, which constitutes around one-quarter of the EU energy mix and is expected to retain its crucial role even in future, decarbonised scenarios. The unabated methane emissions occurring along the entire gas supply chain, also outside the borders of the EU Member States, could compromise the environmental case for gas.
As the EU plans to reduce methane footprint intensify, von der Leyen administration is faced with a bigger-than-ever challenge to cut both domestic emissions and the substantial embedded emissions associated with the EU natural gas imports.
Andris Piebalgs, FSR
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