Methane to Markets -- an international public-private partnership -- has had notable success in reducing industrial and agricultural emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas. Methane concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled since pre-industrial times, and methane emissions now account for 14.3 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from human sources.
According to a recently released joint report by U.S. Department of State; the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Agency for International Development; and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; projects conducted by the partnership, when fully implemented, will reduce annual methane emissions by a level equal to 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
"The emission reductions that are associated with the partnership and the number of partner countries and public-and private-sector organizations that participate in Methane to Markets continues to grow," said Paul Gunning, a branch chief in the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Division. "We now have 27 partner countries and about 800 public- and private-sector organizations in our project network," he said.
The Methane to Markets public-private sector partnership began in 2004. The partnership focuses on using available, cost-effective technologies for capturing and using methane as a fuel, and on identifying and addressing financial, institutional and regulatory barriers. To date, the U.S. has provided $28.5 million for a range of projects; attracted more than $271 million in private- and public-sector contributions; and initiated direct-assistance agreements for projects to recover and use methane in Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
Since 2004, the partnership has tracked the development of more than 140 methane-emission-reduction projects in partner countries, held 41 technical and other events in 13 countries, developed an array of computer-based tools and information services, and organized the first Partnership Expo in Beijing in 2007, which brought together more than 700 members of the international methane community.
In December 2008 and January 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will solicit proposals for another round of grants that will total up to $7 million for projects in developing countries. The next major meeting of partnership members will be held January 27-28, 2009 in Mexico.
The U.S. is committed to working with international partners to reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions.