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White House unveils plans to reduce methane emissions as UN climate summit continues

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Posted at 4:05 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 15:16:13-04

The Biden administration is launching a wide-ranging plan to reduce methane emissions, targeting a potent greenhouse gas contributing significantly to global warming. Methane packs a stronger short-term climate punch than even carbon dioxide.

Watch President Joe Biden hold a press conference at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow:

The plan was announced Tuesday as Biden wraps up a two-day appearance at a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

"One of the most important things we can do in this decade and keep 1.5 degrees in reach is reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible. It's one of the most potent greenhouse gasses there is," Biden said Tuesday at a COP26 methane pledge panel.

The new rules introduced Tuesday would tighten methane regulations for the oil and gas sector and crack down on leaks from pipelines.

As part of the plan, a proposed rule would, for the first time, target emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide rather than focus only on new wells. The policy would require each state to develop a plan to reduce methane emissions from their oil and gas production facilities.

"Overall, the proposed requirements would reduce emissions from covered sources, equipment, and operations by approximately 75%," the White House's statement reads.

The new rules also aim to cut methane emissions from landfills by instituting new EPA emissions standards and reducing food waste nationwide.

Finally, the White House has called on the Department of Agriculture to work with farmers and ranchers to develop incentives to reduce methane emissions. The department is also developing alternate manure management systems and policies that would expand green energy on farms.

"Through tackling methane emissions, spurring innovations, and supporting sustainable agriculture, President Biden today is announcing bold steps that will push the U.S. clean energy economy forward and create good-paying jobs," the White House said.