The Biden administration announced plans on Tuesday to implement some of the nation’s toughest regulations against methane emissions from oil and gas drilling, as part of a larger push to combat climate change that White House officials are unveiling at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules aim to reduce methane emissions from new and existing oil and gas infrastructure, thereby reducing a significant source of pollution from fossil fuel companies. The regulations target methane leaks and situations in which methane gas is purposefully vented, or flared, during the manufacturing process.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is released into the atmosphere during the mining and transportation of coal, oil, and natural gas, but microbes also emit methane in low-oxygen environments. According to the United Nations Environment Program, methane emissions have been responsible for roughly 30% of global warming since preindustrial times.

According to senior administration officials, the new EPA rules will cover an estimated 75% of the country’s methane emissions. The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas lobbying group whose members include Exxon Mobil and Chevron, appeared to back the proposal, saying in a statement that it is committed to “building on the progress we have made in reducing methane emissions.”

“We will continue to work with the agency to help shape a final rule that is effective, feasible, and designed to encourage further innovation,” the group’s senior vice president for policy, economics, and regulatory affairs, Frank Macchiarola, said in a statement. The EPA rules will be stricter than the regulations on methane emissions enacted by the Obama administration in 2016. The Trump administration relaxed those rules, but methane standards were reinstated shortly after President Joe Biden took office.

In addition to the EPA regulations, John Kerry, Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate, announced Tuesday that more than 100 countries will join the United States and the European Union in pledging to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade.

Biden co-launched the Global Methane Pledge with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and others. Despite widespread support for the agreement, China, Russia, and India are among the major polluters who have yet to sign on.

Biden described the Global Methane Pledge as a “game-changing commitment” that will help keep the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive. The announcement is a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change, and it will likely help Biden signal to allies that the United States is serious about climate action, even as divisions within his own party threaten other aspects of his climate agenda.

Methane contributes a much smaller proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions than carbon dioxide, but its molecular structure makes it more easily absorb thermal radiation, which means it can cause significant short-term warming. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane has 86 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

The announcement is a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change, and it will likely help Biden signal to allies that the United States is serious about climate action, even as divisions within his own party threaten other aspects of his climate agenda.

Methane contributes a much smaller proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions than carbon dioxide, but its molecular structure makes it more easily absorb thermal radiation, which means it can cause significant short-term warming. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane has 86 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. The pledge is co-sponsored by the United States, the world’s largest oil and gas producer, and the European Union, one of the world’s largest consumers of natural gas. According to Brownstein, the partnership is significant and should encourage other countries to participate.

Sarah Smith, program director at the Clean Air Task Force, a non-profit advocacy group, praised the participation of US and EU leaders in launching the Global Methane Pledge.