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“80% Cut to Planet-Warming Gas: US Makes Big Announcement

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a significant step forward in the fight against global climate change when it proposed a new rule that will reduce the emissions of powerful heat-trapping gases by nearly 80%. The new rule to target methane emissions follows a series of similar measures taken by the EPA, the most recent of which was an announcement that the US would join the Paris Agreement on climate change. The goal of this agreement is to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases in order to keep the average temperature of the planet from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas, capable of trapping 85 times more heat than the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide over the course of a century. Over the past few decades, methane levels in the atmosphere have risen sharply, and scientists have linked the increase to human activity, such as oil and gas extraction. It is estimated that this new rule will reduce US methane emissions by 35 million tons, or 36%, by the year 2025. This is a significant milestone for the US, as it will be the first time the government has set a national target for the reduction of a particular greenhouse gas. The EPA also released a set of criteria to help guide the physician states plan for the methane regulations. This includes guidelines for how individual states should go about controlling methane emissions, and suggestions for how they can take measures to improve air quality and reduce health risks. The Walsh-Hairsen Rule on methane emissions is the latest in a long list of initiatives taken by the US towards combating climate change. With this rule, the US is making a clear statement that it is serious about reducing global emissions, and that it is willing to lead the way in the fight against global warming.