Methane International

Issue 21, October 2010

U.S. Pledges $50 Million to New Global Methane Initiative During the Second Ministerial Meeting

On 1 October 2010, at the second Methane to Markets Ministerial meeting in Mexico City, Mexico, more than 65 participants from 19 countries as well as representatives from the European Commission, Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, unanimously approved the new Global Methane Initiative (GMI) (PDF, 2 pp., 234 KB). Hosted by Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) Exiting Global Methane Initiative, the Ministerial delegation announced this new initiative, urging stronger international action to address near-term climate change. GMI will build on the existing structure and success of the Methane to Markets Partnership, while enhancing and expanding its efforts and encouraging new financial commitments from developed country partners.

The United States is pledging $50 million over the next five years to GMI to support the implementation of methane emissions reduction projects and technologies with the hope that developed country partners will follow suit with similar pledges. GMI will take the place of Methane to Markets and the Partnership's materials will reflect this transition over the coming months. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson commented that "through this growing partnership, we can convert this harmful pollutant into clean energy and create new economic prospects for people around the world. I'm looking forward to working with our global partners to reduce pollution, strengthen clean energy innovations and make our planet healthier, stronger, and more prosperous for future generations."

During the Ministerial meeting, Secretary Juan R. Elvira Quesada of SEMARNAT Exiting Global Methane Initiative delivered welcoming remarks, and Dr. Adrián Fernández Bremauntz, President of Mexico's National Institute of Ecology Exiting Global Methane Initiative, presented on methane's impact on climate change. Gina McCarthy, Chair of the Steering Committee and Assistant Administrator at U.S. EPA, provided an update on the outcomes from the Steering Committee. Dina Kruger, Director of U.S. EPA's Climate Change Division Exiting Global Methane Initiative, highlighted the Partnership's accomplishments over the last six years.

Delegates were invited to attend the Global Resources Energy and Environmental Network Exiting Global Methane Initiative, or "GREEN Expo," as part of the Ministerial meeting program. The Expo provided a large forum for visitors to gather information about technologies and sustainable practices related to environmental issues such as climate change, and network with other professionals.

The meeting culminated with the Ministerial Declaration (PDF, 2 pp., 20 KB) where both Partner Countries and participating multilateral development bank representatives recognized the success of the Methane to Markets Partnership and realized the need to expand and enhance efforts by re-launching the Partnership as the new GMI.

Steering Committee Welcomes New Partner Countries and Approves Terms of Reference

Nicaragua and Turkey Join the Partnership

Flag of Turkey   Flag of Nicaragua

The Steering Committee welcomed Nicaragua and Turkey to the Partnership, bringing the total number of Methane to Markets Partners to 38.

Nicaragua will be joining both the Agriculture and Landfill Subcommittees. Nicaragua is looking to use methane produced from its agriculture sector for energy. The country is also interested in using the large amount of urban waste generated each day as an energy source.

Turkey will be joining the Coal Mines, Landfills, and Oil and Gas Subcommittees. Turkey is primarily interested in capturing methane from both coal beds and coal mines to reduce emissions and use the gas as a domestic energy source. It is also looking to reduce emissions from the landfill and oil and gas sectors.

The Methane to Markets Steering Committee met in Mexico City, Mexico, on 30 September 2010, preceding the Ministerial meeting. Delegates welcomed new Partner Countries, Nicaragua and Turkey (see sidebar), and discussed the revised Terms of Reference (TOR), charges to Subcommittees, Expo results, and plans for the next Steering Committee meeting. Steering Committee chair Gina McCarthy oversaw the event and provided a recap of the progress and future goals before adjourning.

Project Network Membership Continues to Grow

The Partnership's Project Network has continued to grow and now includes more than 1,000 private companies, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and research organizations. These Project Network members are generating more opportunities for Partners to pursue capacity building, technology demonstrations, market development, and financing across all sectors.

To highlight active Project Network members and their projects, the Partnership is posting new Project Network spotlights on its website under the "organization" tab. Currently in the spotlight is Project Network member Caterpillar, a U.S.-based equipment manufacturer, which has been an active member of the Methane to Markets Project Network since 2005. A year after joining the Project Network, Caterpillar was awarded a $58 million contract to supply all the power generation equipment to the Sihe Mine in Shanxi Province, China, where the world's largest power plant fueled by coal mine methane (CMM) is sited. In the agricultural sector, anaerobic digesters coupled with Caterpillar generators are being used to produce biogas. In the landfill sector, Caterpillar has assisted with installations at numerous projects, such as the Bandeirantes Landfill in São Paulo, Brazil, where the U.S. EPA conducted an assessment of the landfill.

Read more about Caterpillar's success as a Project Network member. Visit the Methane to Markets website to learn more about the Project Network.

Coal Mine Subcommittee Meets in China

On 21 October 2010, the Coal Mines Subcommittee met in Beijing, China. More than 20 people, representing 10 countries, were present. Coal Mines Subcommittee Co-Chairs, Pamela Franklin from the U.S. EPA Exiting Global Methane Initiative and Huang Shengchu from the China Coal Information Institute (CCII) Exiting Global Methane Initiative, and acting Co-Chair P.R. Mandal from India's Ministry of Coal Exiting Global Methane Initiative, delivered opening statements. Ms. Franklin updated the participants on behalf of the Administrative Support Group (ASG) on the outcomes from the Partnership Steering Committee meeting and Ministerial Meeting and discussions surrounding the new TOR. Partner Countries as well as a handful of Project Network members also provided updates on their activities. The Subcommittee also discussed the role of methane abatement in the coal sector, the development of country-specific action plans, and the Subcommittee's leadership.

The Subcommittee meeting was held in conjunction with CCII's 10th International Symposium on Coalbed Methane (CBM)/CMM Exiting Global Methane Initiative. The symposium featured such topics as the potential of CBM/CMM projects in China, opportunities and challenges for CBM industrialization in China, and new technologies and application of CBM development.

Transitions at the ASG

Ashley King, co-director of the ASG for the past two years is leaving to work as a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development. We're thankful for her time and effort with the Partnership and wish her well on this new endeavor. We have begun the process of looking for someone to fill her position and hope to be able to introduce him or her soon.

Reminder: Upcoming Methane to Markets Subcommittee Meetings

Two subcommittee meetings and a meeting of the waste water sector task force will be taking place in the near future. Mark your calendars!

The Agriculture and Landfill Subcommittees will meet jointly on 11 and 12 November 2010 in Venice, Italy. Both Subcommittees will discuss outcomes of the Methane to Markets Ministerial meeting and direction provided by the Steering Committee, which met concurrently with the Ministerial meeting. The Waste Water Task force will meet concurrently with the Landfill and Agriculture Subcommittee and focus on how best to fit wastewater into the Partnership. The wastewater discussion is scheduled to enable attendance by both landfill and agriculture Subcommittee delegates. Subcommittee members from both sectors are encouraged to participate.

The Oil and Gas Subcommittee will meet on 3 November 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana, in conjunction with U.S. EPA's Natural Gas STAR Annual Implementation Workshop Exiting Global Methane Initiative. The Subcommittee will focus on country-specific action plans, Subcommittee leadership, and outcomes from the October Ministerial meeting. Register here Exiting Global Methane Initiative for the Subcommittee meeting.

Recent Developments

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Global Methane Initiative (GMI)
Leading methane action since 2004