Rauch aus Industrie, Methanemissionen

© gettyimages.de/Alexandros Maragos

The EU ministers responsible for energy and climate action advocate binding rules on the reduction of methane emissions in the energy sector. Today, the competent Energy Council endorsed a proposal by the European Commission on the regulation of methane emissions from the energy sector. The aim is to reduce methane emissons by a minimum of 58% by 2030 in comparison to 2020 levels in line with European climate legislation. The proposed regulation covers the gas, oil and coal sectors. According to the proposal, operators of fossil energy infrastructure have to regularly measure and report methane emissions, repair methane leaks in pipelines and other components, and reduce the routine venting and flaring of gas.

Federal Minister Robert Habeck said: "Methane is one of the most climate-damaging greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere - current efforts to reduce emissions are, however, far from sufficient. A binding reduction strategy is therefore all the more important. The EU member states are now addressing this central climate action issue in a new regulation on methane which provides for binding rules in the energy sector. Germany has been advocating that the rules for the energy sector within the EU should in future also apply to methane emissions from energy imports in view of the fact that around 80% of energy-related methane emissions are produced outside the EU. This would also help to prevent competitive disadvantages for EU countries."

In order to make sure that the regulation will not jeopardise European energy supply, the European Commission will have to submit an Impact Assessment on the consequences for the price development and the security of supply in the EU twelve months after the regulation enters into force. In the case of minor consequences, the Commission will have to submit a legislative proposal for the reduction of methane emissions in connection with energy imports to apply from 2027 in accordance with the regulation.

The implementation of the regulation can make a contribution to the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) – the only agreement on the reduction of methane worldwide so far, which was backed by many members, including the EU and Germany, at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The aim of this agreement is to reduce methane emissions globally by at least 30% by 2030 in comparison to 2020 levels.

This draft regulation is to regulate only the energy sector, as this is where methane emissions can be reduced most quickly and in the most cost-effective manner. The energy sector accounts for 19% of total emissions. Agriculture and waste management, which account for 53% and 26% of the methane emissions in the EU respectively, have not yet been included. Germany calls for minimum reduction targets for these sectors as well.

The general approach adopted by the Council of Energy Ministers today will be considered in the negotiations with the European Parliament.
More information about the planned EU regulation to reduce methane emissions can be found at: