EU Policies to Reduce CH4 and H2 Emissions from Energy Sector
Analysis of potential for regulatory improvements and of stakeholder constellations
This project, funded by the Environmental Defense Fund Europe, identifies policy opportunities on the European level with a potential to bring down methane (CH4) and hydrogen (H2) emissions from the energy sector.
Methane is the second most impacting greenhouse gas, second only to CO2. After agriculture, the energy sector is the second most important source of CH4 emissions at global level. Recently, there is growing evidence that hydrogen has a significant greenhouse impact too. Although largely motivated by climate mitigation, the massive global ramp-up of hydrogen production and consumption will result in a significant increase of potential H2 emissions. Therefore, reducing and preventing the risk of CH4 and H2 emissions from the energy sector is of high relevance to bring forward effective climate mitigation policies.
The upcoming EU Methane Emission Regulation will bring important progress in essential areas such as monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), leak detection and repair (LDAR as well as limiting venting and flaring (LVF). Besides strengthening these provisions and the general mitigation obligation in this Regulation, CH4 and H2 emissions reductions from the energy sector could be achieved in manifold ways, including direct measures such as emission pricing and stricter emission limits, monitoring and indirect measures, such as energy policies that effectively limit the use of processes where emissions can occur (e.g. coal and gas phase out, limiting the use of hydrogen to those hard-to-abate sectors where there are no feasible alternatives to achieve decarbonisation).
Besides a comprehensive list of EU policy items that are worth considering, we selectively analyse policy interlinkages and stakeholder constellations around the policies observed. Furthermore, we develop qualitative and quantitative criteria to help environmental organisations and other constructive stakeholders to prioritise the most promising opportunities.