Photo: Wikimedia

As Methane Levels in the Atmosphere Soar, Trump Administration Moves to Gut Regulations

UPDATE (August 29, 2019): Today the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new proposed rule that would loosen safeguards on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. This proposal would allow increased methane emissions from oil and gas operations and weaken efforts to fight climate change. Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the Climate and Energy program at UCS, responds to this latest development.


Until recently, carbon dioxide has earned top billing among global warming gases. Emitted when fossil fuels burn, it remains the most prevalent heat-trapping emission driving climate change. Its concentration in the atmosphere has now reached levels unseen for three million years, helping to usher in an unprecedented decline in plant and animal species, according to a recent major United Nations report. Recent science is adding another gas to the marquee: methane. Just as we are learning how desperately we need to curb this gas, the Trump administration wants to kick the oil and gas industry’s methane standards to the curb.

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Signed, Sealed, Delayed? The New Fate of the Added Sugar Rule and Other Safeguards

, Lead science and policy analyst

The FDA announced this week that it “intends to extend compliance dates” for the nutrition facts label final rules, which will include the separate line for added sugars. We celebrated the finalization of this rule last May as science-based advocacy prevailing to give consumers key information on the foods they consume. While the FDA has not yet announced exactly how long that extension will push back implementation, the food industry has asked HHS Secretary Tom Price to delay the rule’s enforcement three years, until May 2021. Read more >

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North American Leaders Commit to Increase Clean Energy and Cut Methane Emissions

, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

Ahead of the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa tomorrow, the White House has announced that President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will jointly commit to generating 50 percent of the continent’s power from clean energy sources by 2025. Mexico will also join Canada and the US in their previously announced goal of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. Read more >

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Book Review: The Global Climate and a Defense of Beef

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

Defending Beef, by Nicolette Hahn Niman, paints a picture of a better beef system, less damaging to the climate and the environment generally than the current system is. This is a vision I applaud, and one that my colleagues in the UCS Food and Environment program are researching. However, the book also raises scientific issues that I feel are worth exploring, since the dominant beef production system we have in place today, both globally and domestically, has some real problems. Read more >

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Movie Review: There’s a Vast Cowspiracy about Climate Change

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

The film’s premise is based on badly flawed—and almost unanimously rejected—interpretations of science. Read more >

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