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The Imperial Strathcona Refinery, which produces petrochemicals, is seen near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

REUTERS/Todd Korol

US and Canada announce plans to limit methane emissions

The UN climate change conference in Dubai, aka COP28, started as a satire of the world’s insufficient action on climate change. The BBC broke the news that the host country, the United Arab Emirates, planned to use the occasion to make oil deals. The revelation dropped just as the UAE decided to increase oil production in 2024. But the summit also served as a showcase for some progress on tackling climate change: The United States and Canada each announced their respective plans for reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.
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The good, the bad, and the ugly of what was a pivotal—and ultimately positive—year for climate action.limate action.

2021 in review: The year in climate change

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As 2022 nears and 2021 ends, a zillion retrospectives on the past year will start competing for your attention. This is the best one.

Or the first of the best several. As I’ll be posting a bunch of these in the next two weeks, starting today with a review of the most significant climate change news to come out of 2021. (I know, you expected a list of The Best Taylor Swift Songs of the Year. Sorry to disappoint.)

As it turns out, it was a big year for climate, with lots of good and not-so-good developments. Without further ado…

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Why CIA director Bill Burns visited Moscow; COP26 limited results
CIA Director Bill Burns Visits Moscow Amid Heightened Tensions | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Why CIA director Bill Burns visited Moscow; COP26 limited results

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What was the CIA director doing in Moscow the other day?

I think it was an attempt to bring more stability to the long-term relationship between the US and Russia. That does not hide that there are serious concern when it comes to the Russian intention versus Ukraine. And you never know, you might have a crisis there, if not any day, then at any time. But of course, stability and the long-term relationship is good anyhow.

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What We're Watching: Global methane pledge, Africa at COP26

The methane reduction club: It's easy to be cynical about the tokenistic gestures and subpar commitments being made (by some) at COP26. But there are also some crucial developments coming out of the meeting. Over 90 countries have signed onto a US/EU-sponsored pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent compared to 2020 levels by the end of the decade. Though methane is not as rife as carbon, it is way more potent in warming the planet. The Global Methane Pledge now includes commitments from half of the world's top methane emitters, but not the top three: China, Russia, and India. Still, the pledge, which requires states to fix oil and gas leaks as well as reduce methane emissions from agriculture through alternative maintenance schemes, is a big deal because over a century, methane could be up to 34 times as warming as carbon dioxide. The Biden administration, for its part, says that tackling methane emissions buys more time to deal with the climate crisis, and that the Environmental Protection Agency will soon require US states to reduce methane emissions at sources including 300,000 oil and gas sites – many of which are in red states that might not be super cooperative.

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Gabriella Turrisi

The Graphic Truth: Who's driving global methane emissions?

Ahead of the 76th UN General Assembly, the US and the EU both agreed to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by the end of the decade to reduce global warming. Will they convince other top emitters like China, Russia and India to do the same before the COP26 climate summit in November? This would be a big deal, because methane emissions, one-quarter of which come from agriculture, are the biggest contributors to climate change after carbon dioxide — and 80 times more potent in warming the planet. We take a look at the world's top methane emitters, compared with their respective carbon dioxide emissions.

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