Lawmakers vote to extend EU methane emission rules to gas imports

(EurActiv, 27 Apr 2023) The European Parliament’s environment and industry committees voted on Wednesday (26 April) in favour of more ambitious EU rules to curb methane emissions from the energy sector, including a new provision obliging energy importers to live up to the same standards as of 2026.

The EU’s proposed Methane Regulation was approved by lawmakers with a large majority – 114 votes in favour, 15 against and three abstentions.

The draft text will now be submitted to a vote in the Parliament’s plenary on 8-11 May, opening the way for negotiations with EU member states to finalise the law in the coming months.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas,  second only to carbon dioxide in its overall contribution to climate change, and is responsible for 30% of the rise in global temperatures.

Methane can leak from fossil fuel infrastructure during extraction and transport of oil, coal and gas, accounting for 40% of total methane emissions attributable to human activity, according to the International Energy Agency

To address this, the European Commission tabled a proposal in December 2021 aiming to reduce methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector. 

However, it refrained at the time from extending the rules to importers, saying further analysis was needed before this could be done.

With yesterday’s vote, the European Parliament sought to redress this. As of 2026, coal, oil and gas importers will have to demonstrate that they live up to the same requirements, while imports from nations with comparable laws will be exempted.

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EurActiv, 27 Apr 2023: Lawmakers vote to extend EU methane emission rules to gas imports