Washington, DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] United States government officials and their counterparts in 16 countries committed to accelerated action to recover and use methane as a clean energy source at the second annual Methane to Markets Partnership meeting, which concluded November 4.Key actions include the addition of Ecuador as the 17th member of the partnership and a commitment from the partners to increase participating countries and the number of projects worldwide. To date, 17 countries have joined the Methane to Markets Partnership and committed to advancing cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a source of clean energy. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 23 times as effective as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. The gas is regularly captured at landfill sites and burned off to generate on-site electrical power, keeping it from affecting the atmosphere while at the same time offering a form of clean, renewable energy. “We’re making substantial progress in developing the programs and technologies necessary to promote energy security and reduce global methane emissions,” said Bill Wehrum, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. “The international collaboration and action we’ve seen this week lays the groundwork for additional success.” By 2015 the Methane to Markets Partnership has the potential to deliver annual reductions in methane emissions of up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent or recovery of 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas. If these projections are achieved, they could stabilize or reduce global atmospheric concentrations of methane. This would be equivalent to cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of 33 million cars, planting 55 million acres of trees, or eliminating emissions from 50 500 MW coal-fired power plants; or providing enough energy to heat approximately 7.2 million households for one year.