Methane Strategy (cepPolicyBrief to COM(2020)_663)


The EU Commission wants to presentin 2021 a legislative proposal to reduce methane emissions. The greenhouse gas methane, which is mainly produced by leakages from gas pipes, landfills and in agriculture through the digestive process of cows and sheep, has so far not been covered by emissions trading. The Centre for European Policy (cep) is calling on Brussels to include methane emissions in the energy and waste sectors into an emissions trading system.


"The EU wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 - including methane. Only emissions trading can do away with any need for piecemeal individual regulatory measures and subsidies. This way, the targeted emission reduction can be achieved reliably and at minimum cost," says cep expert Svenja Schwind, who wrote a study for the Freiburg-based think tank.


The cep states that in order to achieve the EU climate targets, a long-term strategy is essential for recording and reducing methane emissions. "From the beginning, the Commission should introduce uniform methods for recording methane emissions in all sectors from energy to waste to agriculture across the EU," says Schwind.

According to the cep expert, the increase in the national climate targets for 2030 should take account of the efforts already made by Member States. To that end, the data situation first needs to be improved. A comprehensive and accurate recording of methane emissions is an indispensable prerequisite for this.

That is the only way to find out which specific reduction measures are appropriate in which sectors. "Otherwise, unnecessary costs will be incurred. The more that methane emissions in a sector have already been reduced, the higher the cost of saving additional tonnes of methane," emphasises the cep expert. "In addition, EU requirements for the production of biogas, which reduces emissions, should be designed to avoid bureaucratic hurdles and cost burdens wherever possible" explains Schwind.