Public Consultation on Future EU Rules for Reducing Methane Emissions in the Energy Sector

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on aspects of methane emissions in the energy sector. The objective of this 12-week consultation is to feed into the Commission preparation of proposals for new EU legislation to further reduce methane emissions in the energy sector, due to be tabled later this year, as outlined in the Commission’s EU methane strategy, published in October 2020.

Reducing methane emissions is one of the priority initiatives in the European Green Deal and the EU’s methane strategy highlights the potential to contribute towards key climate objectives, such as greenhouse gas reduction. The methane strategy aims to curb temperature pathways to 2050, improve air quality and reinforce the EU’s global leadership in the fight against climate change.

Although existing policies for non-CO2 emissions are projected to cut methane emissions in the EU by 29% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, the Commission’s recent 2030 climate target plan’s impact assessment concluded that raising EU ambition for overall emissions reduction to 55% by 2030 would also require an accelerated effort to tackle methane emissions. The EU has reduction targets for 2030 for all greenhouse gases, with anthropogenic methane emissions covered by binding national emission reduction targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR). However, there is currently no policy dedicated to the reduction of anthropogenic methane emissions from the energy sector.

The specific objectives of the policy proposal are two-fold: i) to improve the availability and accuracy of information on the specific sources of methane emissions associated with energy consumed in the EU, and ii) to put in place EU obligations on companies to mitigate those emissions across different segments of the energy supply chain.

Comprising 9 sections with a series of nearly 150 questions in total, the consultation will run until midnight on 30 April – the standard 12-week period. Most questions are in the form of a tick-box reply with space for further explanation. Responses can be submitted in all official EU languages.

The Commission is hoping for as wide an audience as possible – from public authorities, companies, including small and medium sized enterprises, industry associations, consumer organisations, worker associations, NGOs, environmental organisations, consultancies, academia, think tanks, other relevant stakeholders and citizens.

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