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Cover Me, Part 3 - U.S. Embraces Multifaceted Approach to Combat Methane Emissions, Advance Clean-Energy Goals

A simple problem can be solved with a simple solution, but more complex problems require a more nuanced approach, often using a combination of strategies. That’s the case with plans to mitigate methane emissions, which are not only potent and prevalent, but notoriously hard to quantify, with little common ground among industry, the government and the public about what steps should be taken next. In today’s RBN blog we look at the different approaches the U.S. is taking to regulate methane emissions and address other clean-energy priorities.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been a frequent topic at RBN over the past couple of years. Quite often the focus has been on carbon dioxide (CO2), but methane is an important part of those discussions too because it’s a particularly powerful GHG with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) that is 25-36 times that of CO2 when normalized to a 100-year timeline. (And an astonishing 86 times that of CO2 if normalized to a 20-year timeline.) A tricky part of the problem is that the actual level (and sources) of methane emissions can be hard to accurately identify and quantify, mostly because estimates can vary greatly depending on how they’re calculated, as we discussed in Part 1 of this series.

In Part 2, we turned our focus to the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and its Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP), which includes the federal government’s first penalty on GHG emissions of any kind starting at $900/MT (or about $17/MMBtu) beginning in 2024 ramping up to $1,500/MT (~29/MMBtu) in 2026.

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