The United States has declared a crackdown on methane emissions at the COP28 summit in Dubai. Methane is identified as a super pollutant which is a major contributor to the escalating climate crisis. The initiative is part of a global effort to address the urgent need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the short-term impacts of climate change.

The United States acknowledged its status as one of the largest emitters of methane.

The new environmental commitment lies in the unveiling of regulations by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rules aim to slash methane emissions from the country’s oil and gas industry by 80% by 2038. The target is projected to reduce methane emissions by 58 million tonnes compared to anticipated levels without the regulations.

Methane is up to 80 times more effective in heating the Earth than carbon dioxide and is responsible for about a third of global warming.

Michael Regan, the administrator of the EPA, highlighted the pivotal role of the new regulations in slowing climate change.

A noteworthy addition to the methane reduction pledge came from Turkmenistan. The nation’s inclusion is seen as significant following revelations about the country’s substantial methane emissions. The leaks in Turkmenistan are considered among the easiest to fix if the country addresses its ageing gas infrastructure.

The US’s climate envoy John Kerry urged nations to prioritise it as the quickest and most cost-effective way to combat global warming.

Recent data from Kayrros indicates mixed progress. Despite Australia’s success in cutting methane emissions, the United States has experienced an increase.

Satellite imaging facilitated by the UN’s methane alert and response system has identified 127 major methane plumes across four continents. The system aims to hold responsible parties accountable by making emissions events public within 75 days of detection.

The United States joined a coalition committing to avoid building new coal plants, and Colombia became the 10th country, and one of the few oil producers, to join a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. Over 100 countries expressed support for including a fossil fuel phase-out in the COP28 agreement, although major oil and gas-producing nations showed resistance.