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.

GMI Steering Committee Announces Canada as New Co-Chair

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Mike Beale, speaking at the Global Methane Forum in March 2016.

As part of GMI’s charter extension announced at the Global Methane Forum, the Steering Committee will transition to a Co-Chair model. The Steering Committee governs the overall framework, policies and procedures of GMI and provides guidance to the Administrative Support Group (ASG) and subcommittees. We are pleased to officially announce Canada as the newest Co-Chair for the next two years. The ASG wishes to thank Canada for stepping forward and welcomes its willingness to take on this new leadership role.

Mike Beale, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environmental Stewardship Branch at Environment and Climate Change Canada, will take the reins on Canada’s behalf. Mr. Beale is excited to take on the Co-Chair role at this important juncture as we all work to implement the Paris Agreement. He believes methane mitigation is critical in support of this effort, and as a short-lived climate pollutant, in support of our goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. You may remember Mr. Beale’s presentation during the Policy Roundtable of the Global Methane Forum. His bio:

Mike Beale is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environmental Stewardship Branch at Environment and Climate Change Canada. His responsibilities include greenhouse gas and air pollution regulations, management of chemicals, implementation of the Species at Risk Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Pollution Prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, as well as providing advice on environmental assessment.

Mr. Beale is an economist by training. Prior to joining Environment Canada in 1989, he spent 8 years working in energy policy at what was then Energy, Mines and Resources Canada.

The United States will continue to serve as Co-Chair until another volunteer is confirmed. We are looking forward to Canada’s leadership over the next two years!

#GMF2016 Day 2: Methane Policies and Re-charter Ceremony

Hello again from the Global Methane Forum conference site at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.! We had an incredibly successful concluding day of the Global Methane Initiative portion of this week’s proceedings.

The morning session on country-level methane policies featured the approach of five countries toward methane policy, with representatives:

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Breakout of SCLP policy measures and best practices.
  • Canada: Mike Beale, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada;
  • Colombia: Eduardo Sanchez, Climate Change Advisor, Ministry of Mines and Energy;
  • Mexico: Maria Amparo Martínez, Institute of Ecology and Climate Change;
  • Philippines: Emmanuel de Guzman, Secretary of Climate Change, Climate Change Commission; and
  • United States: Rick Duke, Deputy Director for Climate Policy, White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.

The key take-away from the policy session was that policies to mitigate methane are not one-size-fits-all, and depend upon the key methane sources in each country and the various levels of government’s willingness and capacity to address these sources.

Following the policy roundtable, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched its latest methane-focused voluntary effort in the oil & gas sector, the Methane Challenge. The Methane Challenge will provide partner companies with a platform to make company-wide commitments to cut emissions from sources within their operations by implementing a suite of best management practices within 5 years. Representatives from 41 companies from across the value chain participated in the ceremony with EPA Acting Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air, Janet McCabe.

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U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy delivering a keynote presentation at the Global Methane Forum. 

After the Methane Challenge launch, participants were treated to a keynote by the passionate, feisty EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy. Administrator McCarthy spoke about the value of methane mitigation in terms of environmental, health, and economic benefits, and how voluntary partnerships like GMI play an integral role.

 

“So much of our success to date has been possible because of the leadership and cooperation of the international community. When it comes to global challenges like climate change, partnerships and collaborations that can bridge national interests and bring us together are really the core, essential, ingredient for success,” she said.

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Finally – the event we here at GMI had been awaiting – GMI’s Re-charter ceremony that officially extends GMI’s charter by a further 5 years, and formalizes new alliances with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The ceremony featured speeches from GMI, CCAC, and UNECE by Joe Goffman, Associate Administrator and Senior Counsel, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA; Rita Cerutti, Director, Multilateral Affairs, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Co-chair, CCAC Working Group; and Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE, respectively.

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Following another afternoon of intense sector-focused technical and policy sessions in the biogas, coal mines, and oil & gas sectors, participants finally got to indulge in some socializing and networking at the official reception hosted by the U.S. State Department. We would like to thank supporters FLSmidth and GHGSat for their assistance in providing libations to all Forum participants at this reception.

Thank you to our 500+ participants of the Global Methane Forum! Presentations from the sessions will be available in a few weeks on our website. Stay posted to our Twitter account for the latest happenings during the rest of the week. Moving on to the CCAC Science & Policy Dialogue today…

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.