The Senate on Wednesday took an important step forward on limiting emissions — and meeting its commitments to curb global warming — by voting to limit the unbridled release of methane molecules, often a byproduct of natural gas production, into the atmosphere.

The 52-42 vote reinstates the Oil and Natural Gas New Source Performance Standards, a handful of Obama-era regulations on methane emissions rolled back by former President Donald Trump in August 2020. The measure drew support from every Senate Democrat, as well as Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has opposed GOP efforts to deregulate methane emissions in the past; Lindsey Graham (R-SC); and Rob Portman (R-OH). The rule is expected to be taken up and passed by the House of Representatives in May.

The standards alone won’t be sufficient to meet President Joe Biden’s pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2030 — a goal meant to help keep global warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius — but it represents an important step toward meeting that commitment, given that methane is increasingly seen as a driver of climate change. The vote did not receive the support of 10 Republicans — the number Democrats need, barring any changes to the filibuster, to pass more sweeping climate legislation — but the fact three GOP senators signed on suggests Democrats have at least some hope of winning over Republicans on at least some climate-related issues.

This rule change required only 51 “yes” votes, as Democrats took advantage of the Congressional Review Act, which allows legislators to undo laws passed by previous administrations in their lame-duck periods with a simple majority in each chamber of Congress. It’s filibuster-proof. Trump’s methane regulation, adopted by the EPA last

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