Kazakhstan, US Forge Alliance, Pledge Swift Action to Cut Methane Emissions at COP28

ASTANA — Kazakhstan joined the Global Methane Pledge on Dec. 2 on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Akorda press service reported. 

Photo credit: Akorda

In a joint United States (U.S.) and Kazakhstan statement on accelerating methane mitigation efforts issued by the Special Representative of Kazakhstan’s President on International Environmental Cooperation Zulfiya Suleimenova, and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, the sides emphasized the commitment to building on the successful partnership of more than 30 years between the two nations.

Highlighting the fifth anniversary of the Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Kazakhstan and the U.S., Suleimenova and Kerry recognized the increasing opportunities for cooperation on methane abatement. Both countries acknowledged their pivotal roles in creating a greener, safer, and better world while emphasizing the urgent need to rapidly reduce methane emissions before 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The joint statement underscored the significant methane mitigation potential within the fossil energy sector, emphasizing the imperative to rapidly reducing emissions in this sector. Both nations expressed an understanding of the significance of voluntary actions in contributing to the collective effort to reduce global methane emissions. Suleimenova and Kerry aimed to mobilize worldwide action and reinforce support for existing international initiatives in methane emission reduction through effective bilateral action.

Crucially, Kazakhstan formally joined the Global Methane Pledge, indicating its commitment to participate in global efforts to mitigate methane emissions. The U.S. and Kazakhstan expressed mutual readiness to accelerate the development and implementation of policies and projects, mainly focusing on the fossil energy sector.

The joint statement provided methane reduction priorities that Kazakhstan and the U.S. plan to focus on over the next two years. This includes cooperation on best practices implementation for coal mine methane mitigation, comprehensive leak detection and repair across the oil and gas sector, and advancements in pilot projects for methane leakage and venting control at Kazakhstan’s oil and gas facilities.

The sides committed to supporting the utilization of satellite and other technologies for monitoring and mitigating methane emissions, focusing on preventing and rapidly responding to super-emitter events. They emphasized the importance of private sector involvement, development banks, financial institutions, and international aid agencies in supporting the implementation of the Global Methane Pledge.

Additionally, the joint statement outlined plans to develop national standards, as appropriate, to eliminate non-emergency venting of methane and require leak detection and repair in the oil and gas sector before 2030. Suleimenova and Kerry encouraged private sector development and investment in methane reduction projects, with plans to convene an industry roundtable in the first half of 2024 to showcase methane reduction technologies and identify opportunities for project development.

The U.S. expressed its intention to work with partners to mobilize investments, including through the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the World Bank. 

“Through this joint statement, we reiterate our commitment to addressing the urgent challenge posed by methane emissions. By working together on these priorities, we aim to build a more sustainable future for our planet and future generations,” the U.S. Office of the Spokesperson’s press release reads. 

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