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Workers at Sakhalin Energy’s Prigorodnoye production complex in Russia. Source: Yuri Smityuk/TASS via Reuters.
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  • The European Union has drafted legislation aimed at reducing methane emissions by forcing oil and gas companies to report their output
  • Oil and gas operators within the EU will be required to submit estimates for their methane emissions within 12 months of the laws taking effect
  • While the draft remains subject to change, the European Commission is due to present it in December
  • Once put forward by the Commission, the legislation will need to be negotiated by the European Parliament and its member states

The European Union has drafted legislation aimed at reducing methane emissions by forcing oil and gas companies to report their output, as well as find and fix leaks of the resource considered to be the second-biggest cause of climate change.

According to a draft of the legislation seen by Reuters on Monday, oil and gas operators within the EU will be required to submit estimates for their methane emissions within 12 months of the laws taking effect.

Companies will then be required to report actual measurements of their emissions within a period of two years. They will also be required to carry out regular surveys for the detection of methane leaks.

While the draft remains subject to change, the European Commission is due to present it in December.

Once put forward by the Commission, the legislation will need to be negotiated by the European Parliament and its member states — a process that could take up to two years.

Methane comes from a variety of sources, including leaky fossil fuel infrastructure, livestock farming and landfill sites. It has a greater heat-trapping ability than CO2, but it breaks down in the atmosphere faster, meaning cuts to methane emissions by 2030 could have a major impact on slowing global warming.

Earlier this month, the Morrison Government elected not to sign Australia up to a global pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

More than 100 countries, including the United States and the EU, in a bid to stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. Australia, however, joined China, Russia, India and Iran in snubbing the pledge.

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