Biden presses nations to reduce methane emissions 30% by 2030

At an event at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, President Biden pushed for nations to decrease methane emissions by 30 percent by the end of “this decisive decade.” Biden also announced steps the U.S. will take to reduce such greenhouse gas emissions.

Video transcript

JOE BIDEN: I want to thank [INAUDIBLE]. 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, it's 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 1/2, 1/2 the warming we're experiencing today, just the methane exposure. So together, we're committing to collectively reduce our methane by 30% by 2030, and I think we could probably go beyond that.

We just announced this package at the General Assembly and 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 1/2 the global methane-- methane emissions, or 70% 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 emergency. 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, 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 and oil wells, and plug leaking pipelines, which there's thousands of miles of those. And it has been a foundation-- a foundational commitment of mine and my administration from the beginning. It's something that I campaigned on, and today, I'm announcing the next steps to reduce US 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 potentially 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 agricultural 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 country as well.

So, let me close again by reiterating, this isn't just something we have to do to protect the environment or the 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.