Fears of EU backtracking on cutting methane emissions

Energy transition


Brussels, 8th May –

What is happening: On Tuesday, 9th May, Members of the European Parliament will vote in plenary on the Methane Regulation and set Parliament’s position for trilogue negotiations with the Council. This is a critical piece of legislation poised to both slow global warming and increase energy security by reducing methane emissions in the energy sector.

Why is it important: 

Methane is the primary component of fossil gas and it has an extremely high global warming potential. There is no possible pathway to limit global warming to around 1.5°C without drastically cutting methane emissions now. Methane is over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years, making methane mitigation one of the solutions to fight climate change while phasing out fossil gas by 2035. 

Worrying Pushbacks: The European Parliament will vote on the joint draft report on the Methane Regulation, adopted by the ENVI and ITRE committees in late April. The report reached good and important compromises on some of the most effective measures to tackle methane emissions, including:

  • An EU methane emission reduction target to be proposed by the Commission by the end of 2025; 
  • Mandatory Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) every 3 months; 
  • a 0.2% methane emissions intensity target limiting any leakages to no more than that ; 
  • and most importantly mitigation measures (leak detection and repair, limits on routine venting and flaring and measurement, reporting and verification) applying to gas imports from 2026 onwards. 

More than 90% of the gas consumed in the EU is imported, so to be serious about reducing the EU’s methane emissions, extending the mitigation measures to imports and working towards setting critical standards for imported energy, is an undeniably critical step to reach EU’s climate goals while strengthening Europe’s energy security. It was supported in the committees by a wide margin of 114-15, with 3 abstentions, indicative of the strong cross-party support for the agreements reached.

However, there are deep concerns over plenary amendments 268-280 that would fundamentally undermine the regulation’s scope and completely disregard the agreement found in the Committees. These amendment proposals include drastic changes such as (but are not limited to):

  • A new loophole that could exempt companies from new rules from the start
  • Reducing the frequency of inspections for leak detection and repair and creating an incentive to not find leaks
  • Reducing the frequency of leak detection and repair inspections on dubious grounds
  • Creating an incentive for companies to not find their leaks
  • A new loophole to weaken new rules on reporting requirements for imports

The tabled plenary amendments 268-280 not only drastically change the compromises reached in the ENVI and ITRE Committees after months of negotiations, but also severely undermine the core functions of the entire regulation. While these amendments were tabled by a small group of MEPs in EPP and ID, they can’t be ignored as they would be extremely damaging to the level of ambition of the measures adopted and they would radically change the agreement found in the ITRE and ENVI Committees. 



CAN Europe will be following the plenary this week. For any inquiries, please contact: 

Seden Anlar, Communication Coordinator: seden.anlar@caneurope.org, communications@caneurope.org

Notes to the Editor:


Press release

Leading Environment and Climate Organisations Score European Parliament’s 2019-2024 Performance ​

New in-depth data research from five leading climate and environment organisations reveals that only a minority of MEPs during the 2019 – 2024 mandate acted to protect Europe’s climate, nature and air quality. The majority of MEPs acted instead as either procrastinators or prehistoric thinkers, delaying real action with patchy and inconsistent voting records, or worse, completely failing to rise to the challenge of the crises Europe is facing.

Read More »