President Biden commends Imran Khan’s pledge to cut methane emissions

SAPM Amin Aslam meets the American president in Glasgow

By: News Desk      Published: 09:47 AM, 3 Nov, 2021
Amin Aslam meets President Biden.
TV grab.

US President Joe Biden has commended Prime Minister Imran Khan for committing to cut methane emissions in an attempt to tackle climate change, said Special Assistant to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday, quoting its sources.

Amin Aslam met President Biden in Glasgow at the two-day long World Leaders Summit. Amin Aslam led the Pakistani delegation at the COP26 global climate conference and was accompanied by Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul.

Both the government representatives also held meetings with delegations of other countries on the sidelines of the summit in Glasgow.

Countries attended the COP26 climate conference were urged to increase their emission cuts to avoid dangerous warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius and to operationalise the Paris Agreement.

On the second day of the global climate conference, Amin Aslam met President Biden when Pakistan officially joined more than 80 nations who signed up for the US-led global methane pledge, agreeing to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade.

President Biden lauded the climate change policities of Pakistan and thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for committing to the pledge, said Amin Aslam.

Amin Aslam also chaired two events at the Pakistan Pavilion including a briefing on the PTI government's flagship “10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme” and a launch of the Pakistan German Climate and Energy Initiative signed with German bank KFW under the NDC Partnership.

Pakistan recently updated its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) document in the run up to COP26 in which it announced it will shift to clean energy by converting 30% of its transportation to electric vehicles and that 60% of all energy produced in the country will be generated by renewable energy sources by 2030.

Germany has committed 60 million euros to Pakistan to be used for renewable energy and this initiative has added a 'green dimension' to the 70 years old partnership between the two countries. “This is a win for us and a win for the world,” said Amin Aslam.

The German development bank KFW had earlier pledged funding to an independent three party assessment of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project which will be led by WWF-Pakistan, IUCN and FAO.

“It is very important to have 100% credibility and 100% transparency. The success of the project depends on this,” Aslam said at the launch of the initiative.

The Pakistani pavilion is hosting a number of side events in the coming two weeks of the UN Climate Conference.

US pledges to act 'sharply'

US President Joe Biden's administration announced new regulations during the global climate summit on Tuesday aimed at "sharply" reducing methane emissions by the oil and natural gas industry.

The announcement came as Biden attended the COP26 in Glasgow, where dozens of countries joined an American and European Union pledge to cut emissions of methane -- the most potent greenhouse gas -- by 30 percent this decade.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it was proposing "comprehensive new protections to sharply reduce pollution from the oil and natural gas industry."

"The proposed rule would reduce 41 million tons of methane emissions from 2023 to 2035, the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxide," the EPA said in a statement.

"That's more than the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from all US passenger cars and commercial aircraft in 2019," it added.

The emission reduction requirements would apply not only to existing oil and gas sources but to those built in the future.

It requires states to "develop plans to limit methane emissions from hundreds of thousands of existing sources nationwide."

The EPA said it expects to issue a final rule before the end of the year.

"As global leaders convene at this pivotal moment in Glasgow for COP26, it is now abundantly clear that America is back and leading by example in confronting the climate crisis with bold ambition," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

The White House also announced that the Department of Transportation will upgrade and expand pipeline rules that will require operators to cut methane leaks.

The administration will also launch an "aggressive" program to plug hundreds of thousands of "orphan" oil and gas wells, including many that are still spewing out methane.

The oil and gas industry is responsible for around 30 percent of total methane emissions in the United States.

Biden has set a reduction target of 50 to 52 percent from 2005 levels in greenhouse gas pollution by 2030.

The Biden administration announcement was welcomed by environmental groups.

"Swiftly reducing methane emissions will result in significant and much-needed near-term climate progress," said Julie McNamara, deputy policy director in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"Today's actions by EPA Administrator Regan take important strides in achieving that necessary progress," McNamara said.

Thanu Yakupitiyage of international environmental organization said CO2 emissions must be addressed as well.

"Methane emissions must be curbed and curbed quick," Yakupitiyage said. "But this effort should not deviate from efforts to curb CO2 emissions."