December News Round-Up and Hello 2016!

The final month of 2015 marked both an extreme peak and extreme trough in terms of methane news. Let’s start with the peak:

WE HAVE A CLIMATE DEAL!

The COP21 negotiations in Paris concluded just one day late on December 12 to produce a comprehensive global deal. You can find the key points from the deal here. Government representatives and GMI partner the Climate and Clean Air Coalition discussed commitments on methane reductions in the early days of COP21. Additionally, the New York Times created a sensible list on how individuals can approach tackling climate change.

The Paris climate deal is certainly an excellent way to end the year on a high, but unfortunately, it’s accompanied by a low in the United States: the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site near Porter Ranch, California, ruptured in October due to aging infrastructure and has been spewing methane into the atmosphere ever since. Called “the largest environmental disaster in the U.S. since the BP oil spill,’’ 1,700 homes have been evacuated so far, and California’s methane emissions have risen by 25% due to the leak. Unfortunately, the leak is technically difficult to fix, so it is likely to continue for several weeks. You can check out an infrared video of the leak here.

A couple other pieces of not-so-great news in December: first, scientists believe that methane emissions from melting Arctic permafrost could be underestimated. Second, a new study finds that methane emissions due to oil and gas production in the Barnett Shale formation in the United States may be nearly twice current estimates. So, it is even more urgent to begin implementation of the Paris climate deal.

Finally, to conclude 2015 on a lighter note: scientists created a “belch backpack” for cows and captured a time lapse series to showcase methane emitted from enteric fermentation.

 

Happy New Year to our friends around the world!

 

December Methane News Round-Up

 

Featured Project Network Members:

‘Tis the season to put food waste to good use

In the spirit of this festive time of year, we would like you to unwind and enjoy these videos about two projects that are capturing and using methane from discarded organic waste.

GMI Partners Tap Tourist Food Waste for Energy

Caterpillar, a long-time GMI Project Network member, recently deployed a waste-to-energy project in Orlando, Florida, USA, in conjunction with Harvest Power, a presenter at the upcoming Global Methane Forum in March 2016. With Disney as its largest supplier of food waste, the project captures methane from anaerobic digestion to produce 3.2 megawatts of electricity and recover waste heat. For more details about the project, visit Caterpillar’s website.

Producing Biogas from COP-21 Food Waste

At COP-21 in Paris, the French startup Moulinot collected more than one metric tonne of food waste per day from the six restaurants supporting the conference. Moulinot delivered the waste to an anaerobic digestion plant operated by Bionerval, which processed the stream to produce methane gas for electricity generation.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

NEW Video Series – Methane Mitigation Matters

Have you visited our homepage recently? If so, you may have noticed that we recently debuted a new video! Your Administrative Support Group has worked hard over the past year to create four introductory videos on methane sources and methane mitigation. The Overview video focuses on the role of methane in climate change. You can view the video below, and don’t forget to tell your friends!

P.S. You can preview the other videos here, but we will also be featuring them in this space over the next few weeks.

An Historic Agreement at COP21: Methane-focused INDCs

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Celebration! The negotiators in Paris declared an historic deal. But how was methane treated? Here’s a round-up of the post-2020 climate action commitments, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) regarding methane. All of the following are taken from a CCAC analysis document found here (in collaboration with the Institute of Sustainable Governance).

(* indicates GMI Partner Country)

 

Oil & Gas:

Canada* intends to develop regulations to address methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, as well as greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas-fired electricity, chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers through its responsible sector-by-sector regulatory approach that ensures Canada’s economic competitiveness is protected.

Saudi Arabia* will take action to conserve, recover and reuse hydrocarbon resources and minimize flaring and fugitive methane emissions.

 

MSW & Wastewater:

Afghanistan will focus on waste management (solid waste management and wastewater recycling/composing of biodegradable waste instead of landfilling, and methane recovery from landfills).

Algeria intends to give priority to the management of household solid waste. It aims to achieve, by 2030, full coverage of its territory for the collection of waste, causing a considerable reduction in CO2 emission equivalent amounts. Algeria will focus on waste recovery and composting of organic waste and green waste; and recovery and energy recovery of methane from landfill centers and sewage treatment plants.

Burkina Faso will take the conditional actions of methane recovery from wastewater at the city’s purification station Ouagadougou and from the Solid Waste Landfill Technology Centre in the city of Ouagadougou.

Cameroon will strengthen its waste management policies (by 2035, all major cities should have landfills furnished with at least 70% methane capture):

– Promote the development of a circular economy;

– Recover / use agricultural and forestry waste; composting;

– Valuation / treatment of other waste (sewage treatment plant, fecal sludge, etc.).

China* will promote the reutilization of building wastes and intensifying the recovery and utilization of methane from landfills.

Dominica will install a flare to burn its currently vented methane, and will reduce the amount of organic waste in its landfills.

Ghana* will improve effectiveness of urban solid collection from 70% to 90% by 2030 and dispose all to engineered landfills for phase-out methane recovery from 40% in 2025 to 65% by 2030.

Grenada will construct a controlled (or capped) landfill with engineering techniques to compact and cover the waste and collect the methane gas generated for electricity production.

Lesotho will construct proper landfill sites in all 10 districts with methane recovery facilities.

Liberia will capture methane gas emitted from landfills and use for fueling vehicles, cooking at home or generation of power.

Marshall Islands will pre-sort its waste and entrap methane.

Mozambique will build and manage two solid waste landfills with the recovery of methane.

Oman will recover methane from solid waste dumping sites.

Turkey* will recover methane from landfill gas from managed and unmanaged landfill sites.

Uruguay will continue its policies of methane capture and flaring measures that have been implemented in landfills (in some cases with power generation) and cogeneration from agroindustrial and forest waste.

The United States* is developing standards to address methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sector.

 

Agriculture

Bangladesh will increase mechanization in agriculture leading to a reduction in numbers of draft cattle (and therefore lower methane emissions).

China* will control methane emissions from rice fields and nitrous oxide emissions from farmland.

The Gambia will reduce methane emissions through water management, less flooded areas and reduced fertilizer usage.

Uruguay will reduce methane emissions in rice production through flood management and other practices.

Vanuatu will work with New Zealand and other nations interested in mitigating methane and associated emissions for ruminant and pasture management.

 

Coal Mines

Afghanistan will strive for gas recovery in coal mines.

Bosnia and Herzegovina will install equipment for power generation from methane at two underground mines.

 

PAF: Lessons Learned and Announcement!

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The World Bank’s Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate Change Mitigation held a side event on the margins of COP21 this past weekend to announce its second auction, and to discuss lessons learned from the first pilot auction held last July.

First things first: the PAF announced its second auction, to be held in the second quarter of 2016 and open to the voluntary market. Like the first auction, the second auction will target methane emissions from landfills, agriculture and wastewater sites – but will change its format to be a forward auction. That means the strike price will be fixed prior to the auction, and the premium will be bid on by auction participants. Please see PAF’s eligibility criteria page. The auction budget, application package, registration deadline, deposit information, and auction date will be announced on the PAF website early next year.  Please register for PAF’s 17 December webinar (09:00 EST / 14:00 GMT) if you are interested in participating in the second auction.

In addition to announcing the second auction, the World Bank shared its lessons learned from the first auction that was held in July. These lessons were categorized into the following five broad categories:

  • Auction design
  • Project eligibility
  • Marketing is critical
  • Focus on risk management
  • Bonds offer an inexpensive and accessible put option delivery mechanism

The entire lessons learned report is available here. Winners of the first auction took ownership of the put options on 7 October.

In related news, the World Bank is also considering whether to extend the PAF to other sectors and greenhouse gas types – in particular, the oil and gas sector (see study here).

GMI continues to support the PAF process – stay tuned here for updates!

COP21: Methane-Focused Sessions

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It has finally arrived – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties! Or, more colloquially, COP21. We here at GMI want to ensure that our partners and stakeholders have comprehensive resources related to the methane-focused events.

First, here are the official UNFCCC COP21 schedule, comprehensive list of side events, and activities by our partner the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) at COP21. Some events of interest are:

4 December 2015: Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Focus Day SLCP Focus Day will show the pathways available for action on SLCPs, the measures available with strong commitments to act, how SLCPs reduction can be integrated across sectors, and the policies and tools enacted at various levels of government and society to mitigate these pollutants.

5 December 2015: Lessons Learned from the World Bank’s Pilot Auction Facility – Lessons learned from the PAF’s first auction as well as plans for future auctions.

7 December 2015: Reducing Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas Operations (side event) – The oil and gas sector is the second largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions, and gas flaring at oil production sites emits pollutants like black carbon and more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. This official COP21 side event will provide policy makers and other stakeholders with the latest information on these two issues and discuss the steps being taken by governments and industry to reduce emissions from the sector.

8 December 2015: SLCPs and INDCs: Tackling short-lived climate pollutants to raise ambition (side event) – This session will examine how measures to reduce SLCPs can help countries meet and exceed the goals set in their Paris pledges, support development and address key local concerns such as air pollution. The event will provide an overview of how countries can link SLCP actions with their climate and low-emissions development strategies, examine the political economy of tackling SLCPs, and hear directly from different countries that are actively addressing SLCPs.

8 December 2015: Waste: Mitigating Methane Emissions: From Science to Innovative Solutions (side event)

9 December 2015: CCAC Official Event: Addressing Near-term Climate Change with Multiple Benefits (side event) – A high-level panel discussion highlighting multiple benefits from reducing SLCPs, with links between climate and development work.

 

You can stay up to date on the latest COP21 news from our Twitter feed and the official UNFCCC Newsroom.

 

 

November News Round-Up

Today the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) kicks off in Paris, and what better way to inaugurate this serious issue than to round up some of the sillier effects of methane emissions? A Malaysia-bound Singapore Airlines flight packed with over 2,000 sheep learned its lesson when it had to be diverted to Bali because the methane from the sheep defecation set off the plane’s fire alarms. Meanwhile in Australia, scientists debunked the myth that kangaroos don’t fart.

But let’s also celebrate some of the creative ways that organizations around the world are mitigating methane! A family farm in France has significantly cut its cattle herd’s enteric fermentation methane emissions by feeding the cows more grass and less maize and soy. A Toyota manufacturing plant in Kentucky, USA, has begun to generate its electricity from a nearby landfill. A French zoo is using the 100 kilograms of dung produced per day by its grey African elephant to create biogas to keep its gorillas and manatees warm and supply renewable power to the national grid. Likewise, developers are currently installing a large biogas project in Missouri, USA, that will convert hog manure into 2.2 billion cubic feet of pipeline-quality natural gas in its first phase. A Boston-based company is extracting clean water and methane from waste streams at two California breweries with a secret set of microbes. A United Nations task force has valued the world’s human feces at $9.5 billion if it could be turned into an energy resource. Finally, a climate-friendly strain of rice that gives off negligible methane wins a Popular Science award. Three cheers for cleantech and innovation!

permafrost-methane-bubbles
Bubbles of methane trapped in thermokarst lakes, which form as permafrost thaws. Photo credit: Miriam Jones, United States Geological Survey, Alaska, USA.

Now for the obligatory sobering news: remember those perplexing giant craters found in Siberia last year, thought to be the result of built-up methane from melting permafrost?  Well, scientists have discovered a similar phenomenon happening on the currently frozen seabed of the Arctic Ocean. Meanwhile, the west coast of the United States is experiencing some methane problems: an old gas storage site in Los Angeles has been leaking for over a month, and plumes of methane are bubbling up from the seafloor off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Stay tuned to our Twitter feed for the latest methane news coming from COP21!

 

November Methane News Round-Up

Featured Project Network Members