Australia joins Global Methane Pledge

The Australian Government is prioritising long-term competitiveness and joining the over 120 countries committed to collectively reduce global methane emissions across energy and resources, agriculture and waste sectors. 

The Global Methane Pledge is a voluntary commitment with 122 signatories including the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union working collectively to reduce global methane emissions across all sectors by at least 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. 

Signatories to the non-binding pledge commit to taking a range of domestic actions such as standards for reducing emissions in the energy and waste sectors, and seeking abatement opportunities in the agricultural sector through technology and partnerships with farmers. 

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the Pledge promotes an aspirational global target for countries to work together to reduce global methane emissions.

“The Australian Government will continue to partner with industry to decarbonise the economy and pursue emissions reduction initiatives across energy and waste sectors including capturing waste methane to generate electricity,” Minister Bowen said. 

"By joining the Pledge, Australia will join the rest of the world’s major agricultural commodity exporters including the United States, Brazil, and Indonesia in identifying opportunities to reduce emissions in this hard-to-abate sector.” 

Australian Government investment will include up to $3 billion from the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to support investment in, for example, low emissions technologies and component manufacturing and agricultural methane reduction. 

Under the Powering Australia plan, the Government has also committed $8 million for the seaweed industry to support commercialisation of the low-emissions livestock feed supplement Asparagopsis. 

The second stage of the Methane Emissions Reduction in Livestock (MERiL) Program will provide $5 million in funding to develop technologies to deliver low emission feed supplements to grazing animals and determine their technical viability and commercial potential.

The Pledge does not require Australia to focus solely on agriculture, or reduce agricultural production or livestock numbers. 

In particular, as a result of signing the Pledge, the Australian Government will not legislate or introduce taxes or levies to reduce livestock emissions. 

National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simon said: “Signing the pledge signals Australia’s voluntary commitment to participation in global action on methane emissions. For agriculture it will reinforce our demonstrated commitment to sustainability and ongoing access key markets as an export orientated sector. Farmers are already leading the charge on climate action in Australia and have earned a seat at the table and the strong assurances and partnership provided by government mean the pledge will not negatively impact on farmers or the agriculture sector.” 

Further initiatives across waste and energy sectors will include capturing waste methane to generating electricity, capturing or avoiding fugitives from coal mines and gas infrastructure. 

Reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism will support emissions reductions in the industrial sector, including reductions of methane emissions from industrial and resource activities, helping to ensure Australian businesses can remain competitive as the world decarbonises. 

The Global Methane Pledge is based on data from the United Nations Environment Programme Global Methane Assessment. That report highlights the critical role that cutting methane emissions plays in the slowing the rate of global warming. 

Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas that absorbs heat 84 times faster than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.