Methane emissions are a dangerous, short-lived greenhouse gas and a powerful contributor to climate change, with an impact on global temperature roughly 84 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
Investors are concerned about all aspects of sustainability for the energy sector but are especially concerned about methane as it is such a powerful climate change forcer. As long-term investors, we are deeply concerned about the impact of climate change on the economy broadly, on the companies in which we are invested, and on communities across the world that will bear the impacts of climate change.
ICCR’s membership includes faith-based health systems and organizations, with ministries in communities affected by oil and gas operations, so we are also concerned about the harmful impacts of methane and VOC emissions on public health, as well as water availability and quality. In our company engagements, we have consistently raised the need for methane and VOC leak reduction and repair, as well as meaningful engagements by companies with community representatives, to address social and environmental impacts from industrial activity.
ICCR's members have been engaging oil and gas companies since 2007 on the need to reduce methane emissions and for greater disclosure of methane management. For a history of ICCR's engagements on methane, click here.
Between 2007 and 2022, ICCR members filed at least 110 resolutions with 49 companies on fracking and methane management and have engaged over 45 companies in dialogue on methane emissions reduction alone. This represents over 40% of US production. 2022 has already witnessed several resolution withdrawals due to company commitments.
The impacts of the campaign over time are:
Stronger than expected regulations issued by the Obama Administration for new and modified oil & gas infrastructure, step #1 in regulating existing infrastructure.
During the Trump Administration, investors worked to prevent a roll-back of the Obama Rule in the Senate where it was threatened by the CRA.
Also, during the Trump years, investor support for strong regulations in two important oil & gas states, PA, and NM, led to issuance of stronger-than-expected regulations.
A considerable number of investor-owned oil & gas companies have shifted from opposition to methane regulations to a recognition of the importance of a regulatory floor, with many in the industry having issued public statements of support for regulations.
In addition to spurring support for federal and state methane regulations, investor engagement has also led to improved methane management, support for no routine flaring by 2025, and an increasing use of direct measurement to track and manage emissions.
ICCR members seek greater disclosure of methane leakage and management information from companies. We actively support the development of robust, cost-effective federal methane regulation by the EPA, and lead a sizeable coalition of investors in the US, Canada and Europe, which includes members of ICCR and the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR).
In the spring of 2021, a group of 168 global investors representing $US 6.23 trillion in assets under management/advisement released a statement calling for stronger methane regulations and enforcement. This statement built upon an August 2020 statement sent to 35 oil and gas producers and mid-stream companies that was signed by 140 investors with over $5.5 trillion in AUM. The EPA comment period for the proposed methane rule closed on January 14, 2022. ICCR submitted public comments in support of EPA’s proposed methane rules and encouraged members to do the same. Our members continue to meet with oil & gas companies on the importance of strong federal methane rules.
Oil and Gas 2.0 Threat Map. In collaboration with the Earthworks, Clean Air Task force, & FracTracker Alliance, this “Threat Map” was created to make the public aware of the methane pollution from oil and gas companies.
Investor Engagement Guidance on Methane
Disclosing the Facts; Extracting the Facts (An older, but still valuable resource)