Media reaction: 15 December 2021

ClientEarth calls out blind spots on EU methane and gas laws

Environmental law charity ClientEarth is calling out the numerous blind spots in the EU’s new gas and methane laws and lack of transparency during their preparation.

On the methane regulation:

ClientEarth law and policy advisor Alexia Falisse said: “Methane is a major foe in the climate fight and up until now it’s been unregulated so it’s a relief to see legislation specifically intended to tackle it. But, incredibly, the main provisions in this new law don’t apply to imports which make up 80% of EU methane consumption – that’s a major blind spot.

“Much more is needed to tackle methane emissions – one option is the introduction of a performance standard that would cap methane emissions as a condition of market access. International trade law makes the introduction of such a mechanism possible and it would send a signal in EU trade partner countries that stringent emissions control is required in order to trade in EU gas markets.”

On the gas markets and hydrogen package:

Falisse added: “This reform was meant to drive the transition to a climate-neutral energy system. Yet it continues to focus predominantly on the operation and further development of the gas system instead of the priority being to put a clear limit on its emissions as the EU’s climate commitments would demand.”

On the lack of transparency of the process:

ClientEarth also criticised the Commission’s failure to follow due process during the drafting of these new laws. It did not publicise the impact assessment and the opinions of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board – an independent body advising the Commission – as it is legally obliged to.

Falisse said: “It has been a guessing game for civil society as to what the Commission is thinking and doing. There shouldn’t be any obstacle to engage in the process of drafting legislative initiatives, especially for such crucial pieces of law.”


Notes to editors:

For more information about the methane performance standard, you can refer to the Annex of ClientEarth’s response to the hydrogen and gas markets decarbonisation package consultation here.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.