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Environmental groups warn MEPs about US certified gas before locking in dangerous, long-term methane gas import contracts

As the European Parliament discusses new rules to tackle methane emissions in the energy sector, a new report by Oil Change International and Earthworks warns that U.S. certified gas schemes will put the EU’s methane emissions reduction goals at risk and undermine EU climate goals that will only be attained by a complete phase-out of gas. In a letter following the report, Certified Disaster: How Project Canary & Gas Certification are Misleading Gas Markets & Governments, groups warn MEPs that US gas producers cannot be trusted, and highlight several issues with certified gas production, including unreliable pollution detection measures, misrepresentation of certified gas impacts, and lack of public access to data behind certification claims.

Certified gas is a new scheme pushed by U.S. gas producers and LNG exporters to improve America’s reputation for producing dirty methane gas. The EU is among the largest fossil fuel importers in the world, the bloc imports 70% of its hard coal consumption, 97% of its oil consumption and 90% of its methane gas consumption. In 2022, the EU was the primary destination for U.S. LNG exports. The EU Methane Regulation Proposal considers requiring fossil fuel imports into the EU, such as U.S. LNG, to meet emissions criteria in the upstream sector.

Ahead of the upcoming adoption of the European Parliament’s position on the text, MEPs should take note of the evident failures of the certified gas industry to detect pollution, lack of transparency, and conflicts of interest detailed in our report. The report argues that the evident failures of the certified gas industry should be considered, and methane emissions from imports should be regulated, as the European Parliament adopts its position on the text.

Lorne Stockman, Research Co-Director at Oil Change International and report author said:
“Our research shows that gas producers and LNG exporters cannot be trusted to clean up their methane emissions. This strengthens the case for rigorous regulation for gas certification programs that ensure the protection of communities and the accuracy of emissions reductions. The report recommends greater transparency and accountability for gas certification, a verifiable commitment to transition away from methane gas, and governmental oversight to ensure accurate emissions reductions. We urge the EU and other importers to adopt our recommendations as minimum criteria for documentation of methane emissions associated with gas imports.”

Methane gas pollution must be immediately reduced and fossil fuel production abated to avoid the worst climate outcomes. Methane is a climate super-pollutant that traps over 80 times more heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide and is responsible for roughly 30% of the global warming we are experiencing today. Research shows that the oil and gas within extraction projects the industry has already developed would take the world beyond 1.5°C of warming, even if coal production stopped overnight.


[1] Full Report: Certified Disaster: How Project Canary & Gas Certification are Misleading Gas Markets & Governments
[2] 2-page summary of report
[3] Letter to MEPs

Oil Change International is a research, communications, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the ongoing transition to clean energy.

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