Donors pledge $223M aimed at reducing methane emissions

WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of philanthropic donors said Monday they will spend more than $220 million to reduce global methane emissions, the largest private commitment ever toward this effort.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is one of the most potent agents of climate damage, gushing up by the ton from countless uncapped oil and gas rigs, leaky natural gas pipelines and other oil and gas facilities.

Among the 20 donors providing funding is the philanthropic arm of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who now serves as a special climate envoy for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The announcement for the funding says the money will support the diplomatic effort spearheaded by the U.S. and the European Union to lower methane emissions and reduce warming by at least 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050. The two entities had announced an agreement last month aimed at cutting their emissions of methane 30% by the end of this decade.

The State Department said Monday 24 new countries have joined that agreement, which, along with the U.S. and EU, brings the total to 33 entities.

The announcement says donors will coordinate their giving for solutions in methane reduction, by providing technical support, expertise and other things.

Monday’s pledge is the latest in a series of climate-oriented philanthropic commitments made in the past few weeks as funders await the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference, set to be held in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of this month.

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