Only a handful of jurisdictions have officially introduced policies aimed at reducing methane emissions in the year since the announcement of the Global Methane Pledge, with a new analysis from climate think tank InfluenceMap showing a steep setback of the industry with regard to these plans.
As world leaders gather for COP27, InfluenceMap is launching a new website to track corporate engagement on methane policy as it relates to two key industries that are the largest producers of anthropogenic methane emissions – the oil and gas sector and the agricultural sector.
It shows that there remains a significant gap between voluntary commitments and countries that have put in place policies to reduce methane emissions, particularly with regard to the agricultural sector. The website will be continuously updated as new countries officially introduce methane regulations.
It includes a policy tracker to show how companies and their business groups are pushing individual policies, such as the European methane regulations for the energy sector and the US EPA methane regulations .
The website also includes a narrative tracker that highlights the arguments most frequently used by these sectors in lobbying against methane policy.
The data shows:
In the United States and the European Union, the majority of corporate engagement on methane regulation has been either unsupportive or outright opposed. This is particularly noticeable in relation to the levy on methane emissions under the Inflation Reduction Act.
Several European oil and gas industry players successfully lobbied against the inclusion of imported fossil fuels in the EU methane regulation for the energy sector, despite over 90% of the consumption of EU fossil gas from imports and the European Parliament’s ENVI committee calling for imports. to be included.
Negative lobbying over EPA methane regulations in the United States has been dominated by cross-industry and fossil fuel industry associations, including the American Petroleum Institute (API), American Gas Association (AGA), and the United States Chamber of Commerce. (USC). All of these groups challenged the EPA’s legal authority to regulate methane emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Turning to specific narratives, the oil and gas industry has used two key tactics to push back against methane regulations: arguing that regulation would negatively impact energy security, and promoting fossil gas (a key source methane) as a cleaner product or “low carbon” energy source.
A key element of the agricultural sector’s strategy appears to be to shift attention to methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector. The analysis shows that it has also deployed two other key arguments to push back against regulation: that methane emissions in the agricultural sector are “natural” and that the industry is making its own efficiency improvements.
The analysis is based on the IPCC’s call for “strong, rapid and sustained reductions” in methane emissions to meet the 1.5°C warming target and the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Vivek Parekh, InfluenceMap Principal Analyst, said: “This research pulls together hundreds of pieces of evidence to uncover the common threads of how industry is lobbying for specific policies and the arguments used.
“Many of the companies involved in this lobbying effort are the same companies that have made public comments about the need to reduce methane emissions.
“What’s also remarkable is that many industry groups — particularly in the United States — have been much more aggressive in undermining regulatory efforts.
“Given strong industry resistance to methane regulations in Europe and the United States, it is not particularly surprising that other jurisdictions have so far been slow to follow suit with their own policy proposals.
“As more countries prepare to announce methane regulations, this research gives an indication of the arguments and lobbying intensity that policymakers can expect from the corporate sector.”