The U.S. and more than a dozen countries and groups have forged a working group to advance efforts to measure greenhouse gas emissions across the natural gas supply chain to cut global output of the pollution blamed for climate change, the Energy Department said on Wednesday.
The MMRV Working Group aims to advance efforts to measure, monitor, report and verify emissions of methane, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It seeks to do so for the entire gas supply chain including production, processing, transport, liquefaction, and distribution of the fuel.
Participants are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, East Mediterranean Gas Forum, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mozambique, Norway, South Korea, Britain and the U.S.
Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary of fossil energy and carbon management at the Energy Department, said there is a pressing need to provide comparable, reliable information on emissions cuts by gas producers and exporters to global markets.
“It’s really critical that we develop on a global basis a framework that is agreed to and supported by both importing countries and exporting countries, one on the governmental side, but also has the investment and support of industry and other stakeholders,” Crabtree told Reuters.
In the first half of this year, the U.S. was the world’s largest exporter of gas that is super-chilled so it can be transported by tanker in the form of liquefied natural gas, or LNG.
Some gas drillers are working on cutting their climate impact, including the marketing of so-called certified gas they say aims to be lower in emissions through actions such as plugging leaks or buying carbon offsets.
Certified gas is often sold at a premium. Some environmentalists and other critics have slammed the efforts as attempts to “green wash” a fossil fuel.
The MMRV agreement comes as the European Union reached a deal to impose methane emissions limits on oil and gas imports from 2030, a move that pressures international fossil fuel suppliers including the U.S. to cut leaks of the potent planet-warming gas.
Crabtree said the U.S. welcomes efforts by countries that import LNG to establish methane regulations as a helpful market signal.
He said there will be talks next year on how developing countries in the group can measure their emissions from gas. “We recognize that not all countries are in the same place,” on their ability to measure and verify.