Thank you very much John and thank you for everything you’ve been doing. It’s been quite a journey and in such a brief period of time.

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are connecting from. I’m really delighted that with John I’m co-host here today and we can co-host here the first ministerial meeting of the Global Methane Pledge. John has been instrumental in making this happen and I'm really grateful to him for that.

The Global Methane Pledge is a joint initiative of the European Union and the US, which we designed to harness global action to reduce methane emissions in the coming decade. Together with the US, we, and the EU, call on all our international partners to join us in this important task, which can bring us closer to reaching our climate objectives. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas responsible for global warming and air pollution. Seventeen percent, that’s what it accounts for in global greenhouse gas emissions. It comes from human activities, principally from energy, agriculture, and waste. If we act together, we can really make a difference because rapidly reducing global methane emissions is the single fastest strategy we have to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The IPCC report demonstrated that methane plays an even greater role in global warming than previously expected. But, its short atmospheric lifetime means that taking action now can rapidly reduce the rate of global warming and bring important co-benefits, such as improved public health, and agricultural productivity. Of course, we all have different starting points and different local situations. But we also all have the possibility to reduce our methane emissions substantially, and to generate a major global impact.

As a first step we need to act together to address the global data gap. For this we need to step up monitoring: emission measurement, reporting, verification. The European Union supports the United Nation’s Environmental Programme in establishing an independent International Methane Emissions Observatory. That will be a key element in delivering on the Global Methane Pledge. Today, we invite all our international partners to join the efforts in making this observatory a success.

At the EU, we've been taking steps to reduce our own methane emissions for almost three decades. Over the past three decades, we reduced these emissions from landfilling by almost a half, and fossil fuels by over 65%. But, still more needs to be done on all fronts. Reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 will mean that all sectors of our economy have to make an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

In July this year, we proposed the world's first blueprint to reach climate neutrality across all sectors of the economy. Our Fit for 55 package will deliver actions to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030 as compared to 1990, in energy, transport, industry, and buildings across the EU. We also adopted a specific strategy to reduce methane emissions in all key sectors covering energy, agriculture, and waste.

But the largest methane emissions associated with the European economy are not happening within our borders. Instead, they take place during the production and transport of fossil fuels that we import into the EU. That’s why, before the end of this year, we will follow up with a legislative framework to reduce methane emissions across the whole energy supply chain in the EU and in partner countries which export fossil fuels to the EU. In the agricultural sector, we will focus on best practice sharing, for innovative methane reducing technologies, and promote targeted research on technology and nature-based solutions. In the waste sector, we will consider further action to improve the management of landfill gas, harnessing its potential for energy use while reducing emissions.

As I said before, we all have different starting positions. But that should not stop us from acting together on methane.

That is why, together with United States, we've secured over 170 million euros or 200 million dollars, that always sounds better, from philanthropists, multilateral development banks, the private sector and other stakeholders to enable more countries to join us in a global effort to reduce methane emissions.

With these imperatives and opportunities in mind, I am delighted to open this meeting, and to welcome your efforts to be part of this ambition.