$20trn investor groups seek action on “fugitive methane” from fracking

Investors in plea to governments and companies

Three global investor groups focused on climate change have combined to call on companies and governments to act to minimise harmful “fugitive” methane emissions caused by unconventional oil and gas production made possible by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

In a joint statement, the institutional investors urged the industry to implement technologies to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and which has much greater short-term warming potential.

They are represented by the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the North American Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and the Australia/New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC).

The groups represent over 200 investor members with total assets of over $20trn (€15.9trn). They are concerned about the regulatory and reputational risks of so-called “fugitive methane”, which occurs as a consequence of the fast-growing fracking extraction technique.There are relatively simple and cost-effective technical solutions to the problem, so progress on the issue is “eminently achievable” says Stephanie Pfeifer, Executive Director of the IIGCC.

The groups are working with the Carbon Disclosure Project to draft an investor framework for disclosure to gauge firms’ progress on cutting their emissions. A final version of the framework should be ready for publication in October.

“Progress is eminently achievable”

“We cannot declare a ‘golden age of gas’ without taking serious action to curb fugitive methane emissions,” added Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the INCR group.

She acknowledged natural gas can play an important role in the transition to a low-carbon energy future but said it would be “ill advised” to ignore the emissions impacts stemming from fracking. Investor statement