Methane International

The Global Methane Initiative Update

Issue 22, January 2011

In this edition:

A New Look for the Global Methane Initiative

GMI logo

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.

At the second Ministerial Meeting in Mexico City on 1 October 2010, more than 65 participants from 20 countries as well as the Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank unanimously approved the creation of GMI (PDF, 2 pp, 114 KB). Led by Mexico's Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada and U.S. Environmental Protect Agency's (EPA's) Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator and Steering Committee Chair Gina McCarthy, the Partner delegations adopted a Ministerial Declaration (PDF, 2 pp, 20 KB), urging stronger international action to address near-term climate 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!

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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.

Wastewater Taskforce

The Wastewater Taskforce met concurrently with the Landfill and Agriculture Subcommittee meetings to focus on how best to fit wastewater into the Initiative. The taskforce discussed three options:

  • Formation of a new Wastewater Subcommittee
  • The inclusion of wastewater within the Landfill Subcommittee
  • Holding wastewater meetings in conjunction with the Landfill and Agriculture Subcommittee meetings

The Taskforce agreed that these options should be included in a new wastewater whitepaper that will be prepared for the Steering Committee along with an estimate of the financial commitments that might be required for each option.

In addition, GMI is looking for countries that are interested in initiating activities in the wastewater sector. Please contact the ASG if your country would like to be included.

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 Exiting Global Methane Initiative 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 Exiting Global Methane Initiative 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.

Landfill Subcommittee
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 Exiting Global Methane Initiative welcomed participants and introduced new co-chairs Rachel Goldstein of the U.S. EPA Exiting Global Methane Initiative and Sandra Lopez from Colombia's Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Planning Exiting Global Methane Initiative.

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.

Agriculture Subcommittee
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 Exiting Global Methane Initiative 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 Exiting Global Methane Initiative Conference in Boise, Idaho, on 10-12 May 2011.

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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 Exiting Global Methane Initiative 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.

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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.

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16th Conference of the Parties Convenes in Mexico

GMI Hosts Side Event

On 8 December 2010, nearly 65 participants attended GMI's side event (PDF, 1 pp., 75 KB), which was held at the Green Solutions Center in the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Hotel. The event began with welcoming remarks from Sandra Herrera of Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Exiting Global Methane Initiative (SEMARNAT).

The welcoming remarks were followed by two sessions; one highlighted the successes of GMI Partner Countries including, Brazil, China, Mexico, and the United States. The second session included Project Network members from organizations such as MEGTEC and PEMEX Exiting Global Methane Initiative who discussed methane mitigation projects in the coal mine, landfill, and oil and gas sectors.

The ASG would like to thank SEMARNAT and the government of Mexico for hosting this event.

On 29 November through 10 December 2010, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Exiting Global Methane Initiative held the 16th Conference of the Parties Exiting Global Methane Initiative 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.

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Recent Developments

Send in your announcement for our next issue. Also, visit the news and events page for information on past GMI gatherings.

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