Australia signs up to global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30%

Global Leaders attend the Sydney Energy ForumAustralia's Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen speaks at the Sydney Energy Forum in Sydney, Australia July 12, 2022. Brook Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS

SYDNEY, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Australia's climate change minister Chris Bowen on Sunday said the government has joined the Global Methane Pledge as part of multilateral efforts to reduce global methane emissions.

"By joining the Pledge, Australia will join the rest of the world's major agricultural commodity exporters including the United States, Brazil, and Indonesia in identifying opportunities to reduce emissions in this hard-to-abate sector," Bowen said in a statement.

The government will continue to partner with industry to decarbonise the economy, especially in energy and waste sectors, and capture waste methane to generate power, he said.

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Government investment to assist the pledge will include up to A$3 billion ($1.91 billion) from a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to support low emissions technology and component manufacturing, and agricultural methane reduction, Bowen said.

The senior minister said the pledge would not require Australia to focus only on agriculture, or reduce agricultural production or livestock.

"As result of signing the Pledge, the Australian Government will not legislate or introduce taxes or levies to reduce livestock emissions," Bowen said.

The U.S.- and EU-led effort pledges to slash methane emissions by 30% by 2030. The effort now covers 60% of global gross domestic product and 30% of global methane emissions.

More than 100 countries have joined the push to cut emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, an initiative aimed at tackling one of the main causes of climate change.

"Canada, with a very similar economy to us, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand and the European Union are all signatories and it's appropriate that Australia joins," Bowen told reporters in Sydney.

($1 = 1.5681 Australian dollars)

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RegisterReporting by Sam McKeith; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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