US President Joe Biden will try to emphasize his green credentials by unveiling an action plan to control methane, which is considered by the administration to be the most potent way to combat the climate crisis in the short term.
At the head of an alliance of 90 countries, including for the first time Brazil, he will on Tuesday set out new regulatory measures to limit global methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by the end of the decade.
The alliance covers two-thirds of the global economy and half of the 30 largest countries that emit methane. China, India and Russia have not joined the pact known as the Global Methane Pledge.
The promise was first announced in September, but Biden’s officials have worked hard to increase the number of signatories and momentum behind the promise. The detailed US proposals may prove to be one of the lasting successes of Cop26 in Glasgow, where Biden will announce its action plan.
Many of the regulatory measures do not require the approval of Congress, and therefore provide Biden with some short-term effective measures that he can point to.
Biden will focus on new plans to limit methane emissions from the US oil and gas industry, which is estimated to be responsible for 30% of methane emissions in the US.
A new Environment Protection Agency rule regulating leak detection and repair in the oil industry, repealed by Donald Trump, will be restored and applied for the first time to new operations in gas, including regulation of natural gas produced as a by-product of oil production, vented or flared .
The Biden team hopes that 75% of all methane emissions will be covered.
The other major sources of methane in the United States are municipal landfills, thousands of abandoned oil and coal mines, and finally agriculture.
New rules to be phased in will require companies to monitor and inspect 3m miles (4.8m km) of pipelines, including 300,000 miles (480,000 km) of transmission lines and 2.3m miles (3.7m km) of pipelines inside cities. In Boston alone, it is estimated that 49,000 tons of methane leak every year.
The administration says it is working with the EU and is using a mix of incentives, new rules for publication and regulation. It stressed that the plan will create thousands of unionized jobs.