Barack Obama will officially add methane to his list of climate offenders in the new plan he’ll outline in his upcoming State of the Union address. New methane regulations are the key to reaching Obama’s ambitious goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2025.


Obama’s supporters say tackling the methane problem is his last big chance to make positive progress against climate change during his presidency. Second to carbon dioxide, methane gas is the greatest contributor to climate change and accounts for about 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the methane polluting the environment comes from the oil and gas industries, so they will be the main targets of the new regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency will roll out a combination of regulations along with voluntary guidelines. Most methane produced by the oil and gas industry comes from leaky equipment, such as cracks in the casing of fracking wells and aged pipelines. So the new rules will essentially require oil and gas companies to clean up their acts.

Related: NASA discovers that a massive methane cloud over American southwest was caused by coal mining

It will take some time before any new regulations can be enforced, however. Any new EPA rules would need to be made final by the end of 2016, despite the wishes of Republicans and industry lobby groups.

Via The Guardian

Images via Ken Doerr via Creative Commons and Wikimedia