The Biden administration’s crackdown on methane leaks from oil wells is based in part on a new powerful policy tool that could strengthen its legal authority to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the entire economy — including from cars, power plants, factories and oil refineries.
New limits on methane, announced Saturday by the Environmental Protection Agency during the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, take aim at just one source of climate warming pollution.
Methane, which spews from oil and gas drilling sites, is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to heating the atmosphere in the short term.
The number, known as the “social cost of carbon,” has been used since the Obama administration to calculate the harm to the economy caused by one ton of carbon dioxide pollution.
The metric is used to weigh the economic benefits and costs of regulations that apply to polluting industries, such as transportation and energy.
Biden, Environmental Protection Agency