GMI Attends its Second Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group Meeting

At the Global Methane Forum last March, GMI officially joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) as a non-state partner to ramp up collaboration on methane activities in the oil & gas, MSW, and agriculture sectors. GMI attended its first CCAC Working Group meeting as part of its new official capacity immediately after the Forum, and attended its second Working Group meeting last month in Paris, France. Monica Shimamura, Co-Director of the Administrative Support Group, represented GMI in Paris.

IISD Reporting Services created a useful meeting summary on the sessions, and we want to direct you to pages 8-10 of the summary, which focus on the CCAC Oil & Gas Initiative’s partner presentations and the upcoming High Level Assembly to take place at the Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco next month. CCAC also posted its own readout with links to presentations and videos – Dr. Drew Shindell’s presentation titled ‘Climate Action – Reducing the Risk for Current and Future Generations’ is embedded below.

GMI will continue to keep stakeholders apprised on its collaboration with formal partners – the next joint meeting is with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane in Geneva, Switzerland on 24 October (register here). Stay tuned!

California’s Landmark Methane Legislation

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Governor Brown giving remarks before the bill-signing in Long Beach, California. Photo credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol.

On 19 September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation enacting new emission limits on short-lived climate pollutants, particularly methane, in the state of California. This historic legislation is globally relevant as it limits methane emissions from the most populous U.S. state and one of the largest economies in the world. California emits roughly 40 MMTCO2e each year, of which 21% comes from landfills and more than half comes from its impressive agriculture sector (source: California Air Resources Board).

 

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Breakdown of 2014 methane emissions in the state of California, by sector. Source: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

The new law calls for a statewide reduction of methane emissions by 40% below 2013 levels by 2030. In addition to the statewide reduction of total emissions, the legislation further specifies a steep reduction in organic waste disposal in state landfills (up to a 75% reduction below 2014 disposal levels by 2025) and 40% reduction from 2013 levels of methane emissions from the state’s dairy and livestock sectors by 2030.

The rules lay out strategies to limit emissions, including a suite of new methane capture and re-use programs tied to more than $90 million in funding. Most of that funding – $50 million from the state’s pre-existing Cap-and-Trade program – is to be directed to help the dairy industry offset the cost of new digester equipment that will be used to control methane emissions.

In addition to direct funding, the new laws include strategies to “identify and address technical, market, regulatory, and other challenges and barriers” to biomethane projects. This includes helping to develop five new pilot projects, establishing new energy infrastructure development and procurement policies (including a biomethane pipeline system), and a pilot financial mechanism “to reduce the economic uncertainty associated with the value of environmental credits.”

The law also calls for a 50% increase in composting in the next four years in order to support the new organic waste stream reductions, and lays out a provisional mechanism to provide financial incentives for the deployment of technology to reduce enteric methane emissions – that is, those from gaseous bovine expulsions – should that technology become both cost-effective and “scientifically proven.”

Methane Gains Traction While New Study Provokes Debate

It’s been quite a busy week for methane – in the past few days the U.S. EPA’s new methane regulations were discussed in the U.S. Congress and the Governor of California signed new legislation to dramatically limit greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, in his state.

We’ll have more on the California legislation for you next week! In the meantime, with all that as a back-drop, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences just published a new study which argues that fugitive emissions from fossil fuel activities may be driving recent increases in atmospheric methane concentrations. Previous studies, however, have pointed that finger at agriculture and landfills.

For the full scoop, check out this great Scientific American article.

Anaerobic Digester Training Deck

GMI has finalized its interactive Anaerobic Digestion (AD) for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) instructional presentation. The presentation – designed to be reviewed by a group or individually – is a truly comprehensive collection of resources, including:

  • Introduction to AD for MSW
  • Overview of AD processes and technologies
  • Review of the benefits of AD
  • Review of the key areas to consider when developing an AD project
  • Assorted AD case studies and a review of AD worldwide

The presentation can be used sequentially, or by using its internal links to navigate between sections. Click below to start your tour!

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August News Round-Up

We’re back after an August holiday! On to the latest news…

As you can see from the assortment of links below, much of the August methane news focused on methane emissions from livestock digestion, also known as enteric fermentation. Although enteric fermentation is the world’s largest source of methane emissions, we here at GMI do not cover it due to the difficulties in measuring and recovering it, but we certainly take a keen interest in mitigation developments. Significantly reducing meat consumption (particularly red meat) and demand is the ultimate mitigation solution, but such incentives and policies are not even under consideration at this time (although California has recently proposed regulation). As scientists study the issue in cows, pigs, and even buffalo, stopgap solutions have emerged such as improvements in feed efficiency and high tech backpacks that capture passed cow gas. The backpacks catch and contain almost 300 liters of methane per cow per day – or enough to power a refrigerator for a day.

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In related news, last year Italian dairy farmers opened The Shit Museum, featuring home goods that are made out of a compound of baked manure and clay that they call merdacotta — “baked excrement.” The group of farmers recently won the top prize for their exhibition of merdacotta goods design at this year’s prestigious Milan Design Week. Check out The New York Times’s fascinating profile on merdacotta goods and the farmers’ commitment to zero waste.

NASA has methane on its radar – the prestigious U.S. space organization is studying the “hot spot” of methane emissions in the Four Corners region of the United States leaking from more than 250 oil and gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines, coal mines and other fossil fuel facilities as well as methane released from thawing Arctic permafrost.

Finally, we also recommend this interesting read on why utilities have little incentive to plug methane leaks.

See you next month!

August Methane News Round-Up

 

Best Wishes to J. Bocanegra, O&G Subcommittee Co-Chair

javier-photoWith both sadness and pride, GMI’s Administrative Support Group announces that Javier Bocanegra Reyes, GMI’s long-standing Oil & Gas Subcommittee Co-Chair, has retired from Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) as of 15 July 2016, after nearly 33 years of service. Mr. Bocanegra has also stepped down from his role as Co-Chair of the Oil & Gas Subcommittee, a position he had held since the chartering of the Global Methane Initiative as well as since the inception of the program as the Methane to Markets Partnership in 2004.

Alongside Elias Freig of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) and GMI’s Municipal Wastewater Subcommittee, Mr. Bocanegra spearheaded Mexico’s active participation in GMI. A stalwart fixture of the Initiative for more than a dozen years, Mr. Bocanegra attended and facilitated countless informal meetings, formal subcommittee meetings, and both the 2013 Global Methane Expo and 2015 Global Methane Forum. He was often quick to volunteer as a speaker or panel member, and presented on Mexico’s active engagement in methane management and GMI at numerous meetings. Mr. Bocanegra also participated in other international organizations and associations such as the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) and the Regional Association of Oil, Gas, and Biofuels Sector Companies in Latin American and the Caribbean (ARPEL).pemex logo

Over his many years of service, Mr. Bocanegra represented and promoted both PEMEX and the GMI across Mexico, Latin America and the world. In a message to the ASG, Mr. Bocanegra expressed his gratitude to GMI for the “great support provided to PEMEX to help to understand the importance of reducing methane emissions in its operations” and his pleasure at our collaborations over the years. GMI thanks and congratulates Mr. Bocanegra on the outstanding contributions he has made to the Oil & Gas Subcommittee and to GMI overall.

GMI Calendar – Exciting Upcoming Events

August is a slow month here in hot, sticky Washington, D.C., where your GMI Administrative Support Group (ASG) is based, but more exciting months are ahead. Here’s what’s coming up in September/October:

16th International Symposium and Exhibition on CBM/CMM and Shale Gas in China
12-14 September 2016: Jincheng, China
nios-logoHeld by the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOS) and the China Coal Information Institute (CCII), the International Symposium on CBM/CMM and Shale Gas in China is an international communication platform which brings together stakeholders to share experiences and project-oriented solutions to the problem of CBM/CMM development. The Symposium will also consider shale gas policies and development and commercialization strategies.

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) World Congress
19-21 September 2016Novi Sad, Serbia
How will Southeast Europe reach the standards and goals of waste management set out in the EU directive? We know that countries such as Austria, Sweden, Netherlands and Japan took more than 30 years to reach their current high levels of effective waste management. Can Southeast Europe meets its deadline in a decade? How and at what cost? How will this be financed? Which technologies will be used? What types of laws and regulations are needed to achieve this? How will authorities communicate to citizens the choices before them? What kind of lessons can be learned from the successful or failed attempts of other countries? Which sciences and studies can be applied in the region? These are the topics, challenges and debates expected at ISWA World Congress in Novi Sad in 2016.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group Meeting
20-21 September 2016: Paris, France
CCAC_logoThe Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) will hold its biannual Working Group Meeting in Paris, following the last Working Group Meeting at the Global Methane Forum. The focus of this Working Group Meeting will be learning more about the progress and impact of CCAC initiatives through interactive sessions. It will also involve discussion and agreement on changes to the CCAC partnership and governance following the work of the Task Team, including changes to streamline the funding process, and preparations for the High Level Assembly (HLA) in Marrakesh on the margins of COP22. A member of the GMI ASG will attend to represent GMI in its new role as non-state Partner. As this meeting is not open to the public, stay tuned for our report on the meeting.

24th World Mining Congress: Mining in a World of Innovation
18-21 October 2016: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
world-mining-congress-logoThe World Mining Congress is a world mining event that takes place every 3 years. The event aims to promote and support, both technically and scientifically, the cooperation for the national and international development of mineral areas and resources, and implement a global information network concerning mineral science, technology, economy, occupational health and safety and environmental protection.

11th Session Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane / GMI Coal Subcommittee Meeting
24-25 October 2016: Geneva, Switzerland
The UNECE Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM) undertakes and promotes activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines. Apart from its focus on reduction of the carbon footprint of the mining industry, the Group of Experts also works toward the improvement of underground mine safety conditions. Through its activities in the field of methane recovery and use, the Group of Experts helps to reduce the risk of coal mine explosions, and thus helps to save lives and avoid large-scale economic losses.