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Remarks on the Global Methane Pledge at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, United Kingdom

November 02, 2021

Well, it's very easy to follow Ursula. I think she says it all well the first time.

Look, I'm going to be very, very brief. I want to thank Ursula. And thank you so much to everyone here today, you know, for signing this game-changing commitment.

One of the most important things we can do—and I keep referring, as many of you do, to this decisive decade. We've got to figure what we're going to do. It's not just between now and 2050. What we're going to do between now and 2030 is going to impact significantly on what we'll—whether we'll be able to meet our longer term commitment.

And one of the most important things we can do in this decisive decade is—to keep 1.5 degrees in reach—is reduce our methane emissions as quickly as possible. As has already been stated, it's one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is. It amounts to about half—half—the warming we're experiencing today, just the methane exposure.

So, together, we're committing to collectively reduce our methane by 30 percent by 2030. And I think we can probably go beyond that. We just announced this package at the General Assembly in—back in September. At the time, it was mentioned, nine countries had signed on. Today, it's over 80—it's approaching 100—countries that are signing on. That's nearly half the global methane emissions or 70 percent of the global GDP.

And it's not—this is going to make a huge difference. And not just when it comes to fighting climate change, as Ursula pointed out—the physical health of individuals and a whole range of other things. It's going to improve health, reduce asthma, respiratory-related emergencies. It's going to improve the food supply as well by cutting crop losses and related ground-level pollution. And it's going to boost our economies, saving companies money, reducing methane leaks, capturing methane to turn it into new revenue streams, and—as well as creating good-paying union jobs for our workers.

And we're taking—and we're talking about jobs to manufacture new technologies for methane detection; jobs for union pipefitters and welders to go out and cap abandoned oil wells and plug leaking pipelines, which there's thousands of miles of those.

And it has been a foundation—the foundational commitment of my administration from the beginning. It's something that we—I campaigned on. And today I'm announcing the next steps to reduce U.S. methane emissions.

We're proposing two new rules: one through our Environmental Protection Agency that's going to reduce methane losses from new and existing oil and gas pipelines; and one through the Department of Transportation to reduce wasteful and potential dangerous leaks from natural gas pipelines. They have authority over that area.

We're also launching a new initiative to work with our farmers and our ranchers to introduce climate-smart agriculture practices and reduce methane on farms, which is a significant source as well.

And this is all part of our new methane strategy, which focuses on reducing the largest source of methane emissions while putting thousands—thousands—of skilled workers on the job all across the United States and, I expect, in your countries as well.

So let me close again by reiterating, this isn't just something we have to do to protect our environment and our future, it's an enormous opportunity—enormous opportunity—for all of us, all of our nations to create jobs and make meeting climate goals a core part of our global economic recovery as well.

The United States is eager to work with each of you to make sure we meet this goal and encourage more countries—more countries—to join us in committing to reducing methane globally, because there are more that can join and should.

So I want to thank you again. Much more to say, but much of it has already been said. But thank you for your partnership. Thank you for your ambition.

And now I'm going to turn it back to Secretary Kerry. I believe he's still here. There he is.

And I thank you all so very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:36 p.m. at the Scottish Event Campus. In his remarks, he referred to President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission; and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks on the Global Methane Pledge at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, United Kingdom Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/353110

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