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White House launches methane emission task force to boost leak detection

Published 07/26/2023, 08:04 AM
Updated 07/26/2023, 12:33 PM
© Reuters. Bubbles of methane from old gas wells rise through the water in a small stream in Roan County, West Virginia, U.S., May 17, 2021. Picture taken May 17, 2021.   REUTERS/Dane Rhys/File Photo

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Wednesday launched a Cabinet-level task force that will corral federal agencies to use technology to detect leaks of the potent greenhouse gas methane and help federal and local officials enforce methane regulations.

The task force was launched at the same the White House is holding its first methane summit, which is gathering federal, state, tribal and local leaders involved in programs targeting methane emissions, as well as companies that have developed methane detection technology like optical gas imaging cameras and satellites.

Although short-lived compared with carbon dioxide, methane is 80 times more potent and is responsible for nearly a third of planetary warming so far, making it a target for policy-makers seeking to combat climate change.

And as the main component of natural gas, methane that escapes from pipes, compressors and other technology wastes billions of dollars.

"Today, the Biden administration is turbocharging our efforts to cut wasteful and harmful methane leaks, by harnessing innovative technologies and enlisting skilled workers in this urgent task," National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said in a statement.

A new report by the Blue Green Alliance said that the raft of new methane reduction policies launched by the Biden administration could create a net 10,000 direct and indirect jobs annually.

© Reuters. Bubbles of methane from old gas wells rise through the water in a small stream in Roan County, West Virginia, U.S., May 17, 2021. Picture taken May 17, 2021.   REUTERS/Dane Rhys/File Photo

In addition to proposals to target methane emitted from the oil and gas sector by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy is working with gas importing and exporting countries to develop an approach to measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions.

Companies participating in Wednesday's summit include Honeywell (NASDAQ:HON), Teledyne, GHGSat and CarbonMapper.

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