Methane, the second leading source of climate change, is released through a leaky oil and gas infrastructure, livestock farming and landfills.
These have a more warming potential than CO2 but degrade more rapidly in the atmosphere, which means that reduced methane emissions can rapidly have an impact on limiting climate change.
Methane is the second leading cause of climate change after CO2.
On Tuesday the full European Parliament’s environmental committee gave its support, 61-10, to a report supporting the commission’s plan to force oil and gas firms to report methane emissions and find and repair leaks, which is due to be tabled in December.
The entire European Parliament will vote on the report next month, and its methane legislation will not become law until after a review process launched by EU governments and lawmakers which may take up to two years.
Legislators would also be required to set binding targets to cut their own methane emissions, which represent about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, lawmakers said.
Lawmakers welcomed the Commission’s proposals to consider prohibiting ventilation and flaring when businesses release methane to the atmosphere or intentionally burn it.
The EU and the US have made a joint promise this month to reduce methane emissions by 30% from 2020 onwards in an attempt to step up international action on methane emissions.