With tackling methane emissions caused by human activity considered the most ‘immediate and cost-effective’ way to deliver the Paris Agreement target to keep global warming below 2C, biogas and AD could play a key role in delivering the global methane pledge.

Speaking at the WBA Summit 2022, a panel of expert speakers considered the mechanisms currently being developed to deliver the pledge. 

As a pollutant with 86 times higher global warming potential (GWP) than carbon dioxide, reducing methane emissions is considered essential for hitting emission reduction targets.

Various methods of reducing methane emissions are being undertaken across the world. In US states such as California, statutes are being explored to examine the potential of reducing short-lived climate pollutants such as methane. 

The US Methane Emissions Reduction Action plan aims to address methane emissions from all key sectors important for US emissions from landfills, coal and gas, and agricultural sources. 

As the third largest source of methane in the US, landfills are being looked at for emission reduction. 

A programme called the Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) aims to reduce methane emissions from large landfills, whereas another scheme looks at reducing food waste from landfills – 50% by 2030. 

“The bulk of the plan is focused on domestic action, “ said Pamela Franklin, Chief of Non CO2 Programs Branch, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

“We translate these technical resources and tools into our international work ether its bilaterally or multilaterally in the agriculture sector.” 

To reduce emissions in agriculture – a sector responsible for 36% of US methane emissions – various undertakings are being studied such as working with farmers and ranchers to identify a number of voluntary and incentive-based approaches to advance climate goals. 

“The USDA is working and pursuing multiple work streams, including adopting an alternative newer management system and other methane reducing practices.” 

An initiative by the Climate & Clean Air coalition (CCA Coalition) supported the starting of the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) - a methane reduction commitment announced at last year’s COP26 - by issuing the global methane assessment, in addition to supporting the meetings that were put together in the lead up to the GMP. 

By developing a methane flagship, the CCAC aims to directly support commitments to reducing emissions. 

“It’s about engaging and mobilising CCAC partners and other key actors, and it is about providing scientific assessments and tools,” said Martina Otto, Head of the CCAC Secretariat, CCAC. 

“It also brings together and defends champions through high level dialogues.” 

The flagship has resulted in a Methane Baseline Assessment, Country Methane Profile, a Methane Roadmap Action Development Programme, and a Methane Action Tracker. 

“Our roadmap is a quick way of identifying country need.” 

“It is open for CCAC and GMP countries and offers a series of workshops and expert consultations to help learn from each other.” 

The roadmap can be used to identify the scale of the issue to help prioritise mitigation measure by sector. 

Challenges for implementing a suitable plan centre around the policy level and also cost. In the US, a top-down approach is seen as a way of moving things forward. 

“It does take leadership from the top, because many countries there are lots of different ministries or departments, so it’s hard to take action in a concerted way if there’s not buy in at a top level,” said Franklin. 

“In the US for example having the White House issue a policy means a lot more than if just a single department issued a policy because it’s going to have a lot more buy-in from across the government.”

Further details about the CCAC’s methane roadmap can be found here.