The Global Methane Initiative Update
Issue 22, January 2011
In this edition:
- A New Look for the Global Methane Initiative
- Subcommittees Met in November
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Publishes Fifth U.S. Government Accomplishments Report
- Organizations are in the Spotlight
- 16th Conference of the Parties Convenes in Mexico
- Recent Developments
A New Look for the Global Methane Initiative
Building on momentum surrounding the recent Global Methane Initiative (GMI) launch, the Administrative Support Group (ASG) recently unveiled a new "look" to brand and unify GMI's website and materials. The new look is built around a refurbished logo, which features the methane flame and sun rays, a new beginning for the program and methane's far-reaching potential for global change.
The ASG is redesigning many Partnership materials to reflect this new look. The former Methane to Markets website has now migrated to a new address: www.globalmethane.org. While this site has the same navigation and content as the previous site, it also features GMI's new logo and a dedicated GMI page, www.globalmethane.org/gmi, and refreshed fact sheets that highlight the Partnership's successes to date and GMI's newly expanded program areas (e.g., abatement, wastewater).
With these improvements in place, GMI is ready to move forward and fulfill its mission. Central to its progress are financial commitments from developed-country Partners and others to address climate change through GMI's methane mitigation efforts. The United States is pledging $50 million over the next five years to support methane emissions reduction projects and technologies, and other developed-country Partners are considering similar pledges.
For updates on GMI's progress and newly released materials, check the website often!
Subcommittees Met in November
Three of the subcommittees and the Wastewater Taskforce convened in November to continue their collaboration and discuss outcomes from the Ministerial meeting including the implementation of GMI. Some of the details from these meeting are listed below.
Oil and Gas Subcommittee
On 3 November 2010, the Oil and Gas Subcommittee met in New Orleans, Louisiana. The meeting was held in conjunction with the U.S. EPA's Natural Gas STAR Annual Implementation Workshop on 1-3 November 2010. The workshop included a tour of a local natural gas plant and the U.S. EPA's Natural Gas STAR Annual Implementation Workshop and Award Ceremony.
The meeting attracted the largest turnout to date: 32 participants from five countries, many attending their first Subcommittee meeting. Francisco Sucre of the World Bank presented on the bank's carbon finance and technical networks. Participants also had a chance to discuss the future of GMI. In addition, the Subcommittee decided by consensus that the leadership would remain in place for now. The next Oil and Gas Subcommittee meeting will be held in mid-2011, but its location has not yet been determined.
On 11 November 2010, the Landfill Subcommittee met in Venice, Italy along with the Agriculture Subcommittee and the Wastewater Taskforce. Nearly 20 participants from 14 countries attended the Subcommittee meeting. Co-chair Gabriel Blanco of Argentina's Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development welcomed participants and introduced new co-chairs Rachel Goldstein of the U.S. EPA and Sandra Lopez from Colombia's Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning .
Participants discussed charges given to the subcommittees from the recent Steering Committee, the transition from Methane to Markets to GMI, and how the landfill sector can contribute to the initiative's new wastewater focus.
On 12 November 2010, the Agriculture Subcommittee met in Venice, Italy. The Subcommittee discussed the outcomes of the Methane to Markets Ministerial meeting and the direction provided by the Steering Committee. The Subcommittee also shared country updates and information about the recently conducted Resource Assessments. The Subcommittee emphasized the importance of countries creating and maintaining action plans and up-to-date reporting.
In addition, the Subcommittee announced that Jeremy Eppel of the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had resigned as co-chair; they offered their sincere thanks for all his work with the Subcommittee. The group also reviewed future tasks, including creating international calculator tools for anaerobic digestion projects and an international database of anaerobic digestion systems. The next Agriculture Subcommittee meeting will be held in conjunction with the U.S. EPA's AgSTAR Conference in Boise, Idaho, on 10-12 May 2011.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Publishes Fifth U.S. Government Accomplishments Report
The U.S. EPA recently released the fifth annual U.S. Government's Methane to Markets Partnership Accomplishments report, documenting the leadership efforts of the U.S. federal government to reduce and recover methane around the world. In 2009, EPA continued its collaborative efforts with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to support the Methane to Markets Partnership. Together, they conducted 26 workshops in more than 14 Partner Countries and trained approximately 2,000 people in all four sectors. The U.S. EPA also joined the government of India in organizing the second Methane to Markets Partnership Expo, held in New Delhi in March 2010.
The report highlights the U.S. commitment to reduce and use methane emissions as well as details on progress in every sector. In fiscal year 2009, the United States provided $10.5 million to the Partnership, bringing the total U.S. financial commitment to the Partnership to more than $50 million since 2005. These funds have leveraged approximately $387 million in additional funding. These and other efforts are successfully bringing more than 300 methane emission reduction projects online in 18 Partner Countries. In 2010, these projects reduced methane emissions by 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2E) per year. When fully implemented, they will reduce emissions by approximately 61 MMTCO2E annually.
Organizations are in the Spotlight
Get to know your growing network and learn about other companies, Expo Sponsors, and recent project developments by visiting the updated GMI website! It now features a new spotlight on a Project Network member. The updated format highlights Project Network members in a condensed format that includes a brief introduction, information on current projects, and important links. More than 1,000 diverse organizations from six continents currently participate in the Project Network.
16th Conference of the Parties Convenes in Mexico
On 29 November through 10 December 2010, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held the 16th Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico. The meeting began with a welcome ceremony where Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary and new President of the Conference, addressed the 192 delegates in attendance. The 11-day conference included sessions related to the Clean Development Mechanism, compliance under the Kyoto Protocol, and information on greenhouse gas inventories.
The conference concluded with all nations agreeing to set a goal of limiting a rise in average world temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. Negotiators also agreed to create a Green Climate Fund to provide $100 billion a year to poor nations by 2020 in an effort to protect tropical forests and share clean energy technology (a funding source for this fund has not been identified). Additionally, negotiators tried to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012, but there was no resolution. Next year's conference will take place in South Africa.
- Livestock Project Protocol Approved for Mexico and the United States. In September 2010, the Climate Action Reserve approved Livestock Project Protocols for both Mexico and the United States, providing guidance on calculating, reporting, and verifying greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with installing a manure biogas control system for livestock operations. For more information, visit Mexico's Project Protocol or the U.S. Project Protocol .
- Coal Mine Methane (CMM) Workshop in China. In October 2010, the first United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Workshop on Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines was held during the 10th International Symposium on Coalbed Methane/CMM in China . The U.S. EPA co-sponsored the workshop with the China Coal Information Institute and the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety . It focused on safety and technical issues related to gas extraction and control in the underground environment. Additionally, UNECE distributed its Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines (PDF, 86 pp., 1.9MB) .
- Biothermica and Walter Energy Agree to Develop Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) Projects. In October 2010, Project Network member Biothermica and Walter Energy agreed to work together to develop VAM projects. The mission is to recover and mitigate VAM emissions from all suitable current and future ventilation shafts at Walter Energy's coal mines. The first project under the agreement will be operational in 2011, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 330,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (TCO2E) per year. Ultimately, the implementation of the entire pipeline of projects is expected to reduce emissions by more than 3 million TCO2E per year. Read the press release (PDF, 2 pp., 88 KB) for more information.
- Landfill Gas (LFG) Energy Project Completed in Ontario. In October 2010, a 2-megawatt LFG energy project was brought online at the Petrolia Landfill in Ontario, Canada. The landfill, owned by Waste Management , is providing electricity to homes in the area from the LFG. Waste Management was able to complete the project a year after breaking ground. For more information, see the news story in the Waste Business Journal .
- United Kingdom Announces First Renewable Energy Project From a Brewery. In November 2010, BioEnergy News announced that United Kingdom's first renewable energy project to use gas from a brewery plant is expected to come online shortly. Renewable energy specialist Bio Group has developed a proprietary anaerobic digestion technology for the project, which should generate up to 4.4 million kilowatts of energy per year.
- Landfill in Ghana Installs Gas Collection System. In November 2010, Blue Sphere Corporation announced that it had signed an agreement for the installation of a gas collection system and flare with the right to negotiate for renewable electricity generation in Accra, Ghana. The project consists of the installation of a gas collection system and flare at the non-operational Oblogo and Mallam landfill sites, which are located one mile from each other in Accra. The LFG extraction component consists of installing a flare to capture and destroy methane gas contained in both landfills. Read the press release for more information.
- Municipality of Guayaquil, Ecuador Announces Request for Proposals. In November 2010, the Municipality of Guayaquil, Ecuador, issued a request for proposals for an LFG energy project at the Las Iguanas Landfill. The Municipality of Guayaquil is looking for a company to help capture, treat, and use the LFG released from the landfill. The deadline to apply is 14 January 2011.
- U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Providing Nearly $300 Million in Financing to Combat Climate Change. In December 2010, Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of OPIC , announced that OPIC will provide at least $300 million in financing for new private equity investment funds that could ultimately invest more than $1 billion in renewable resource projects in emerging markets. Specifically, the funds will accelerate investment in renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro, tidal, and geothermal power as well as waste and biomass. On 15 December 2010, OPIC issued a call for proposals for private fund managers investing in renewable energy, resource efficiency, and the preservation of scarce natural resources. The deadline to submit a proposal is 11 February 2011. For more information, read the announcement and visit the website for more information on the call for proposals .