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UK backs action on gas flaring

UK supports actions pledge by industry to reduce gas flaring in order to cut levels of black carbon and methane emissions

The UK joined countries around the world today (January 28, 2013) in calling for accelerated action to substantially reduce venting, leakage, and flaring of natural gas from oil and gas operations worldwide.

Specifically, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, working under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), said it intends “to work with leading oil and gas companies to achieve substantial global methane and black carbon emission reductionsâ€?.

Action on gas flares on a global scale has been welcomed by energy and climate change secretary of state, Ed Davey

Action on gas flares on a global scale has been welcomed by energy and climate change secretary of state, Ed Davey

According to a statement released by UNEP, it is estimated that over 8 per cent of total worldwide natural gas production is lost annually to venting, leakage, and flaring. “In addition to … energy and economic losses, these activities result in nearly two gigatons of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions per year, over 80 percent of which are methane emissions, making oil and gas operations the second-largest source of global anthropogenic methane emissions behind agriculture.â€? UNEP also warned that flaring releases substantial amounts of black carbon, which is particularly harmful to human health and areas like the Arctic.

Voluntarily

Backing the announcement, Ed Davey, the UK’s secretary of state for energy and climate change said he “warmly welcomed all those companies and countries that have voluntarily committed to substantially reduce venting, leakage, and flaring of natural gas from oil and gas production operations.â€?

Mr Davey went on to urge others in the oil and gas sectors to do likewise and said the UK is fully supportive of actions to reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants which are a crucial complement to action on carbon dioxide and other pollutants. But, the secretary of state went on to warn that higher aims are needed for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

He said: “However, the climate benefits of this valuable work will count for little if we are unable to achieve sufficient ambition in the main UNFCCC negotiations and to limit global average temperature rise to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The most cost effective way to achieve this is though an international, legally binding agreement.â€?

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition aims to help companies accelerate and expand voluntary emission reductions “where there are cost-effective opportunities to do soâ€?, and to showcase progress by companies that are already taking significant action. This effort will build upon and scale-up the achievements of the Natural Gas STAR International Program, the Global Methane Initiative, and the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership.

The Coalition said it would work with leading oil and gas companies to collaboratively design an initiative that will quickly and meaningfully achieve substantial climate, air quality, health, environmental, operational, and financial benefits. Initial CCAC engagement with interested oil and gas companies is commencing and will accelerate over the coming months. Ministers from additional CCAC countries are also expected to join the effort.

The Coalition, which was launched by six countries and the UN Environment Programme in February 2012, now consists of 28 state partners and other key institutions like the World Bank, and is already acting on several fronts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon, and many hydroflourocarbons (HFCs).

Background

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition explains that it is a voluntary, collaborative global partnership uniting governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society to quickly reduce short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon, and many hydroflourocarbons (HFCs). The Coalition is focusing high-level attention to catalyze major reductions that can be undertaken now using existing technologies.

The Coalition states that “aggressive action” on these pollutants could head off 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2050, prevent over two million premature deaths each year, and avoid over 30 million tons of annual crop losses by 2030. The Coalition seeks to build upon and scale-up existing efforts focused on short-lived climate pollutants such as the Global Methane Initiative, Arctic Council, and Montreal Protocol and is complementary to efforts reducing carbon dioxide.

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