13 Countries Join U.S. to Launch Methane-to-Markets Partnership

13 Countries Join U.S. to Launch Methane-to-Markets Partnership

a href=http://www.epa.gov/methanetomarkets target=new>Methane-to-Markets Partnership.

This new global initiative serves to advance international cooperation on the recovery and use of methane as a valuable clean energy source. Methane to Markets has the potential to reduce net methane emissions by up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent annually by 2015 and continue at that level or higher in the future. This would be the carbon equivalent of removing 33 million cars from roadways for one year or eliminating emissions from 50 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants.

“The Bush Administration welcomes this global partnership, a partnership that we believe will deliver significant economic, environmental, and energy benefits,” said Administrator Leavitt. “Together we will harness the power of collaboration, technology and markets to achieve real, near-term reductions of global methane emissions.”

The partnership will increase energy security, enhance economic growth, improve air quality, improve industrial safety, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world.

The signing follows the administrator’s announcement in July that called for the creation of this partnership. Since that announcement, six additional countries have joined the partnership. They include Argentina, Brazil, China, Columbia, Nigeria, and Russia.

Methane is a clean-burning fuel that is the main component of natural gas and is also the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas from human sources. Significantly reducing methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective ways to realize immediate environmental benefits because of methane’s potency as a greenhouse gas and its short atmospheric lifetime. Methane remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years and is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).

In addition, capturing and using recovered methane provides a valuable, clean-burning energy source that improves quality of life in local communities.

Countries participating in the Methane-to-Markets Partnership are expected to undertake activities aimed at capturing and using methane emitted from landfills, coal mines, and oil and gas systems. It is anticipated that developed countries will work with developing countries in undertaking these efforts. The partnership will also encourage active involvement by private industry, financial institutions and other non-governmental organizations.

The United States will commit up to $53 million over the next five years to facilitate the development and implementation of methane projects in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. EPA will play a lead role in the partnership and coordinate efforts with several other departments including the Department of State, Department of Energy, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development.