US Helps Propel International Methane Partnership

DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the United States and seven other countries — Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine — will form the “Methane to Markets Partnership” to develop and promote cooperation on the recovery and use of methane.

Washington, DC – August 6, 2004 [] There are two major reasons to capture methane; it is a clean-burning fuel that is the main component of natural gas and it is also a potent greenhouse gas, roughly eight times more detrimental to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The Partnership will focus on deploying cost-effective technologies in landfill gas-to-energy projects, methane recovery projects at coal mines, and improvements in natural gas systems. Capturing methane emissions and converting them to energy is among the most cost-effective approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and it also provides an energy source that improves quality of life in local communities. The new partnership 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 — a greenhouse gas reduction equal to removing 33 million cars from roadways for one year or eliminating emissions from fifty 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said the partnership has, “…the double benefit of capturing the second most abundant greenhouse gas and turning it to productive use as a clean-burning fuel. Together we will harness the power of collaboration, technology and markets to achieve verifiable reductions of global methane emissions.” The United States will commit up to $53 million over the next five years to help develop and implement methane projects in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and similar contributions are anticipated from other developed countries. The EPA will lead the Methane to Markets Partnership, which will be officially launched at a Ministerial Conference in Washington, D.C., in November 2004. Countries participating in the Methane to Markets Partnership are expected to undertake activities aimed at reducing and capturing methane emissions at landfills, coal mines, and oil and gas systems. It is anticipated that developed countries will work with developing countries in undertaking these efforts. The specific details of the Partnership will be established and formalized through further discussion between participating member countries. The Methane to Markets Partnership will be officially launched by developed countries, developing countries and countries with economies in transition with large methane emission sources or special expertise at a Ministerial Conference in November 2004 in Washington, D.C.