On March 28, 2014, the White House released its “Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.” The plan summarizes the Administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions from several sources. The strategy includes proposing new standards, new rules, new voluntary strategies and programs and new regulations. The plan outlines measures to reduce emissions and to improve measurement of sources and emissions.
According to the plan, Methane has a global warming potential more than 20 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, per metric ton. On that basis, methane makes up almost 9% of all the greenhouse gases emitted as a result of human activity in the United States. Although in the United States methane emissions have decreased by 11%, they are projected to increase from the current carbon dioxide equivalent of 560 million tons in 2012 to over 620 million tons in 2030 absent additional action to reduce emissions. The main sources of human-related methane emissions are agriculture with 36%, natural gas systems with 23%, landfills with 18%, coal mining with 10%, petroleum systems with 6%, and wastewater treatment with 2%.
The plan anticipates a number of initial information gathering activities this spring and summer with the results being published in the fall. Any final rulemakings would be completed by the end of 2016.
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