A GROUP of nearly 150 environmental justice groups urged the Biden administration on Wednesday to abandon talks with global energy companies on standards for certified natural gas, a form of the fuel that producers market as climate friendly.
The United States has held talks with energy companies and foreign officials on certified gas as it ships large amounts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe to displace Russian gas amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Gas Leaks and other green groups argued the discussions are a dangerous diversion from President Joseph R. Biden’s pledge to move toward cleaner energy sources.
“While we strongly support robust and well-enforced regulations to cut methane leaks from the oil and gas sector, we oppose efforts that aim to provide ‘extra credit’ which the gas industry uses to promote growth in the production, trade and consumption of methane gas,” they wrote in a letter to US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
While gas burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, its main component is the powerful greenhouse gas methane, which can leak into the atmosphere — a top complaint from environmentalists, whose support is key as Mr. Biden ramps up his 2024 reelection campaign.
Gas producers have attempted to market certified gas at a premium for years, using third-party certifiers to prove the fuel was produced and transported in ways that minimize emissions.
But a lack of unified standards on measuring and verifying emissions across the supply chain has limited low-carbon gas markets.
Certifiers rely on competing measurement technologies and differing methodologies on interpreting the data.
Brad Crabtree, a Department of Energy official, met privately with companies on the issue in March and told Reuters standards are needed because the “downside of all the innovation and creativity is that it also is very chaotic.”
The Department of Energy and Crabtree’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter.
The Differentiated Gas Coordinating Council, an industry group seeking to make certified gas an option for meeting climate goals, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. — Reuters