Rapid cuts to methane leaks at oil and gas sites needed to meet climate targets – IEA.
Cutting methane emissions from oil and gas sites is vital to limiting global warming to 1.5C, the International Energy Agency said today.
In its annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA said this measure could close 15% of the gap between what was needed to limit temperature rise and today’s pledges by world governments.
The flagship report – designed as a guidebook for world leaders at next month’s climate talks in Glasgow – said there would need to be cuts in 2030 of almost 90 million tonnes of methane emissions from fossil fuel operations to keep the world on track for net zero by 2050.
“Rapid reductions in methane emissions are a key tool to limit near-term global warming, and the most cost-effective abatement opportunities are in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas operations.
“Methane abatement is not addressed quickly or effectively enough by simply reducing fossil fuel use; concerted efforts from governments and industry are vital to secure the emissions cuts that close nearly 15% of the gap to the NZE [Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario].”
Today’s report also said the use of oil would have to fall sharply to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
For the first time in a World Energy Outlook, the IEA predicted an eventual decline in oil demand. If all today’s announced climate pledges were met, the world would still be consuming 75 million oil barrels per day by 2050 – down from around 100 million today. But to meet net zero emissions by 2050, the use of oil would need to plummet to 25 million.
The IEA said there had been “a large rebound” in oil and coal use in 2021. Largely for this reason, 2021 was also seeing the second-largest annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions in history.
The IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said:
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