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Australian Climate Change Authority Sets Sights on Methane Emissions

The Australian oil and gas industry needs to start paying more attention to reducing methane emissions, the country’s Climate Change Authority has said in two reports, as cited by Bloomberg.

The advisory body to the Australian government said “Over the past five years, developments in satellite technologies and inverse modeling techniques have resulted in a new source of data to estimate fugitive methane emissions from individual facilities.”

It went on to add that this improved technology has called into question the accuracy of previous data-collection methods used by coal miners and oil and gas producers, suggesting they need an update.

If the Australian government heeds the advice of the Climate Change Authority, the country will probably follow the example of Canada, which recently announced aggressive methane emission reduction targets for its oil and gas industry.

"Canada has committed to reduce by 2030 methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by at least 75 per cent below 2012 levels," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the UN in September.

The U.S. federal government is also zeroing in on methane emissions with new rules that have sparked worry the smaller oil and gas players in the country would be forced to go out of business because of exorbitant additional expenses they would need to make to comply with the law.

Methane has been attracting growing attention from transition activists and governments in the past few years. It has become a natural target alongside CO2 because of its potent greenhouse effect.

Yet investment in methane emissions reduction is minuscule compared to the billions being poured into CO2 emission cuts, a report from environmentalist group Clean Air Task Force released earlier this year said.

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The report estimated that the world needs to spend $119 billion annually in the energy, agriculture, and waste industries to reduce methane emissions meaningfully and in line with Paris Agreement stipulations.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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