#GMF2016 Day 1: Importance of Methane Mitigation and Methane Project Financing

Hello from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., USA, where we have just completed the first morning plenary session of the Global Methane Forum! We had a packed house of methane mitigation enthusiasts ready to discover the importance of mitigating methane as part of a near- and long-term strategy for implementing the COP21 goal of limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

GMI-Forum-Packed-Room
A packed house before the first Plenary Session of the 2016 Global Methane Forum. Photo credit: Christopher Voell, Director of the U.S. EPA’s AgSTAR program and Co-Chair of GMI’s Agriculture Subcommittee.

The first session kicked off with a talk by GMI Steering Committee Chair & Acting Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Janet McCabe on methane’s critical role as a short-term climate forcer and the global cooperative efforts on its mitigation, including the Global Methane Initiative. She also detailed U.S. domestic plans for methane mitigation in the oil & gas sector, including the recent announcement with the government of Canada. Her talk was followed by a complementary discussion on the outcomes of COP21 and the implications of future methane work by the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, Karen Florini. Ms. Florini also acts as a key player in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), the co-host of the Forum.

GMI-Forum-Panel-UNECE
In a panel of technical experts on coal mine methane, Scott Foster of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe called for increased international cooperation. Photo credit: GMI project staff.

As the policymakers exited the stage, the scientists entered – CCAC’s Climate Advisory Panel scientists Dr. Johan Kuylenstierna, Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, and Dr. Drew Shindell, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. In a ‘tag team’ talk, Dr. Kuylenstierna and Dr. Shindell explained the far-reaching impacts of methane emissions not only as a climate forcer, but on air quality as well – which negatively impacts human health, agricultural crop yields, etc.

The final session of the morning featured a roundtable moderated by Dianne Rudo, during which the speakers detailed varying approaches to methane project financing, including:

GMI-Forum-Steven-Wan
Steven Wan speaking on financing Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) projects after the collapse of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Photo Credit: GMI project staff.
  • Steven Wan, Fortman (Beijing) Clean Technology Co., Ltd., discussed establishing a public-private partnership with SinoSteel to finance coal mine methane projects.
  • Scott Cantor, Carbon Finance Specialist, World Bank described the World Bank’s new innovative, award-winning climate finance mechanism, the Pilot Auction Facility, based on providing a price guarantee for methane projects via auctioning put options.
  • Samuel Tumiwa, Deputy Regional Director, Asian Development Bank, outlined approaches to climate project financing in Asia, including smaller scale, easily replicated loans used to add biogas digesters to existing projects.
  • Laurence Blandford, Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP), presented on his recently-published CCAP paper on converting COP21 INDCs into action. The major takeaway: publishing a country INDC investment strategy.
  • Bob Ichord, Ichord Ventures, LLC, discussed improving enabling environments for mitigating methane emissions from the oil & gas sector. As he noted, oil and gas production will not cease anytime soon, so we must deal with the emissions.

All in all, a successful morning. Stay tuned to our Twitter page for live updates, and please check our website in a few weeks for presentation materials from this morning.

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