Glasgow, Scotland hosted a two-week-long world climate change conference, called COP26, that involved leaders from around the world discussing “ways to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses,” WFAA mentions.

The Global Methane Pledge, proposed by President Joe Biden, was a hot topic of the meeting. More than one hundred nations committed “to steep cuts in methane emissions.” According to an article from The Conversation, written by Jeff Nesbit of Yale University, two of the biggest methane emitters, Russia and China, have not signed the pledge.

The one hundred countries committed to the Global Methane Pledge are ordered to cut their methane emissions by thirty percent by the year 2030.

While speaking at the conference, Biden stated, “This is all part of our new methane strategy which focuses on reducing the largest source of methane emissions while putting thousands of skilled workers on the job all across the United States.”

Energy companies will be held responsible for repairing detected leaks with the methane plan intact. The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, has a plan very similar to Biden’s methane plan, which is already in place.

The plan that Biden proposed “commits the United States to spending $21 billion – money that’s earmarked in the bipartisan infrastructure bill – to reduce methane emissions by 75% over 15 years,” WFAA stated.

Nesbit, who worked in the Bush and Obama administrations on climate change, explained that “methane is the primary component of natural gas,” and that methane is eighty-four “times more powerful at warming the climate than carbon dioxide over the short term.”

Dr. Amy Townsend-Small is a methane scientist at the University of Cincinnati. She spoke to WFAA and shared the same information that Nesbit did by stating, “It is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, especially on the short term.”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, eighty percent of greenhouse gas emissions is carbon dioxide, produced by exhaust that comes from vehicles and power plants. Carbon dioxide traps heat, which in turn makes the atmosphere hotter than normal. NASA mentions that carbon dioxide can float around within the atmosphere for thousands of years.

Methane is highly potent, lasts in the atmosphere for around twelve years, and “makes up only about 10% of heat-trapping gasses,” explains WFAA.

Nesbit shared that methane emissions have increased over major sources throughout the world. These emissions have come from leaks in natural gas pipelines, coal mines, drilling operations, agriculture as in rice fields and livestock, and waste piling up in landfills.

Dr. Townsend-Small shared, “If we reduce methane now, we’ll have more time to deal with CO2, which is a huge problem. But methane is warming the Earth faster now.”

WFAA shares that the steep cuts involved in the Global Methane Pledge will likely affect Texas. “Cutting back on a potent gas like methane would have a quick impact on climate change,” and “the biggest source of methane comes from the oil and gas industry – an industry where Texas leads the nation.”

According to the EPA, 30% of methane emissions come from natural gas and petroleum systems, while enteric fermentation (digestion of ruminant animals) makes up just slightly less, with 27% of methane emissions.

The Texas Railroad Commission regulates gas and oil. They said that there are around 7,500 abandoned wells located in Texas. EPA  claims that “abandoned and poorly maintained wells can leak huge amounts of methane.”

RRC, Leading Texas Energy, explains that abandoned wells are “inactive, non-compliant wells that have been inactive a minimum of 12 months and the responsible operator’s Organizational Report (Form P-5) has been delinquent for greater than 12 months.”

According to WFAA, “With 7,500 abandoned wells and the potential of billions in new government spending, there’s a lot of work to be done in the Lone Star State.”