Beginning on Sunday, October 31, world leaders, diplomats, and business leaders are meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, to try to set emissions reduction goals at the COP26 summit. The reduction pledges are key to meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Limiting global warming requires current trends in carbon dioxide emissions to be halted and reversed. But it isn’t the only tool in the toolbox for climate change mitigation.
Global Methane Pledge
On November 2, 105 world leaders signed onto the joint initiative of the United States and the European Union, the Global Methane Pledge, to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
Methane is not as abundant as carbon dioxide, but it is much more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Systemic changes are needed to cut carbon emissions, but methane emissions can be cut by fixing leaks in oil and gas pipelines as well as natural gas pipelines among other actions. In the United States, the EPA will require oil and gas companies to find and fix methane leaks from their equipment.
The EU will announce the details of its plan for methane emissions next month.
Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, said that cutting methane emissions is necessary to limit global warming and will also remove that air pollutant from the atmosphere, resulting in fewer deaths and asthma-related hospitalizations.
Jobs in Methane Emissions Mitigation
Biden said that this isn’t just something that is required to protect the future, but it’s an opportunity for the world to create jobs and make mitigating climate change part of the global economic recovery.
The Environmental Defense Fund points to new research that indicates this is indeed the case. The methane mitigation industry is an expanding job market that helps the oil and gas industry reduce its carbon footprint.
The latest report, Find Measure Fix, states that there are more than 225 manufacturing and service companies with nearly 1,000 employees working across the country to mitigate methane emissions. The service sector has doubled in size since the last report in 2017, and the manufacturing industry has grown by one-third. The starting salary for someone in methane mitigation is 10% higher than the national average.
These are mainly small businesses with the potential to grow and expand. Further research indicates that if methane standards are reinstated, many of these firms can grow to meet the new demand, creating even more jobs. These are well-paying jobs that can’t be offshored.
Methane Mitigation Helps Oil and Gas Companies
Methane is a valuable commodity. Investing in fixing the leaks that put methane in the air will pay for itself financially. Reducing methane in the air removes the pollutant and contributes to mitigating climate change almost immediately.
Investors are more frequently looking at how climate change affects investment and are putting their money behind green technology and renewable energy. By making the commitment to mitigate methane, oil and gas companies can be more attractive to investors.
Methane mitigation can also help companies hire talent in the current labor shortage. People increasingly want to work for companies that are part of the fight to mitigate the climate crisis and don’t add to the problem. By proving that mitigation efforts are an important value, companies can attract the talent they need.