Methane Emission Reduction

Methane Emissions

Methane emissions are a dangerous 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 short term forcer of climate change. 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 especially concerned about the harmful impacts of methane and VOC emissions on public health. 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.  

In May of 2016, the Environmental Protect Agency issued a new rule requiring oil and gas companies on new and modified infrastructure to find and repair leaks on all significant sources, and to use cost-effective technologies and practices to limit methane emissions from hydraulically fractured oil wells, pneumatic controllers and pumps, and compressors. But in March of 2017, the agency’s newly sworn-in administrator, Scott Pruitt, responded to industry trade association pressure to re-write the regulations, deemed crucial to cutting planet-warming emissions as part of the Paris climate deal.  

Featured ICCR Initiative

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 May of 2021, a group of 147 global investors representing $US 5.35 trillion in assets under management/advisement released a statement calling for stronger methane regulations and enforcement. Since then, those numbers have increased to 168 investors representing $6.23 trillion in assets under management. The EPA comment period for the proposed methane rule closes on January 14, 2022. This statement builds 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.

Featured Resources 

Oil and Gas 2.0 Threat MapIn 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.

An investor’s guide to methane: PRI and EDF Develop Practical Guide on Managing Methane Risks 

More on the history of ICCR's engagements on methane