Methane is subject to EU climate legislation – it is one of the six GHGs for which emissions are reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and that count towards the emissions reduction targets. Methane emissions are covered by the Effort-Sharing Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/842, under revision), and by the Governance Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/1999), which obliges the Commission to address methane emissions through a strategic plan, in the light of a long-term strategy for GHG emissions reduction. Regulation (EU) 2018/841 (to be amended) on including emissions/removals from land use, land use change and forestry in EU climate policy after 2020 (the LULUCF Regulation, to be amended) concerns CO2, methane and nitrous oxide.
An overview of measures prepared by the Commission for the Global Methane Initiative lists additional policies related to methane. The use of best available techniques (BAT) for industrial facilities – e.g. power plants, refineries – that fall within the scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) is an important example. This directive does not cover the upstream, midstream and downstream of fossil gas (liquefied natural gas, underground gas storage, transmission and distribution) or coal mining. Regulation (EC) 166/2006, introducing the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, addresses methane emissions by requiring underground mining and related operations to report CH4 emissions above 100 000 kg/year.
Reductions in methane emissions are also achieved by means of legislation (Directive 94/63/EC) addressing the handling, storage and distribution of liquid fuels, and by reducing fugitive losses of volatile organics and hydrocarbons from such processes.