When 100 countries signed up to a global pact to cut methane emissions at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, there was one notable absence from the proceedings: Russia.
On paper, the world's fourth-biggest emitter of methane has much to gain from signing on to the deal. It's the biggest exporter of natural gas, essentially methane mixed with a few traces of heavier hydrocarbons. Any molecules that it emits into the atmosphere are ones it's not making money selling. The idea behind the Global Methane Pledge, or GMP, was that plugging leaks was so profitable that companies and governments would do it out of self-interest alone, helping advance the goal of cutting emissions by 30% over the decade through 2030.