As the EU legislative process moves on, polluters push to undermine progress
Brussels, May 5, 2023 – Ahead of the European Parliament’s plenary vote on the EU Methane Regulation due on May 9, climate activists are denouncing the fossil fuel industry’s fierce campaign to weaken proposed European Union rules addressing methane pollution.
The European Commission’s proposed regulations were watered down before a vote in December. Now the European Parliament prepares to cast votes, the polluters’ lobby has been working to make sure the rules remain weak.
Among the main players were Eurogas, an EU fossil gas association, which has repeatedly stressed the need to weaken key aspects such as provisions related to monitoring methane emissions, leak detection and repair (LDAR), and thresholds for venting. More information about lobbying activities on the EU methane file can be found on the Influence Map’s Methane Platform.
These attempts to weaken the text of the regulation are now in danger of once again being reflected in the amendments tabled by MEPs on the right side of the European Parliament ahead of the plenary vote. Additionally, a recent article published by der Standard documented how the amendments presented by some Member States before the adoption of the EU Council position in December corresponded almost exactly to the demands formulated by large energy companies.
Of particular concern are the measures related to cutting methane emissions associated with coal. On this point, the Polish coal industry succeeded in heavily diluting the methane legislative proposal. The joint report adopted by the European Parliament’s ITRE (Energy) / ENVI (Environment) committees on April 26 is weaker on coal than the European Commission’s initial proposal.
As a result of lobbying activities by the Polish coal industry, the European Parliament is proposing to relax the Commission’s proposal allowing coal mines to release additional greenhouse gas emissions. Polish mining companies, owning several mines (some of which are not emitting methane), could easily comply with the regulation through accounting tricks rather than any actual methane reductions.
Enrico Donda, Gas Campaigner with Food & Water Action Europe, released the following statement:
“Corporate interests are working hard to undermine what could be real progress on reducing methane pollution. Although the committee vote was a step in the right direction, climate advocates are concerned about these coal rules, in addition to the fossil fuel industry’s lobbying to further weaken the text in the next legislative stages”.
“The EU bloc is among the largest fossil fuel importers in the world. It is estimated that between 75-90% of the methane emissions caused by EU fossil fuel consumption occur outside our borders. So we cannot afford to implement feeble provisions and half-baked solutions. An ambitious final text – not one with the fossil fuel industry’s fingerprints all over it – is vital to give us a chance to limit near-term warming while focusing on the need to phase out fossil fuels”.
Enrico Donda, Gas Campaigner, Food & Water Action Europe (FWAE) [email protected], +32 485 187 523