Leading global biogas trade body the World Biogas Association (WBA) reiterated its key message to COP26 delegates at a Blue Zone session held at the event earlier this month, stating that a ‘new era’ of waste management must be ushered in to see a global reduction in methane emissions.

The WBA states that just 2% of the 105bn tonnes of organic wastes generated annually by human activity is treated through anaerobic digestion before being transformed into bioresources such as biogas, biofertilisers and bioCO2. 

This transformation of industry is seen as being a vital part of meeting net zero targets and helping to deliver around 50% of the Global Methane Pledge when fully deployed. 

Recycling breakdown.

Recycling breakdown.

Speaking at the event, hosted in partnership with the Kenya Climate Change Working Group, Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, WBA, emphasised the importance of utilising AD, saying, “Organic wastes from food production, food waste itself, farming, landfill and wastewater treatment are responsible for about 25% of global methane emissions caused by human activity.” 

“It is therefore critical that we user in a new era of waste management. We haven’t changed how we treat our waste for millennia, we either burn or bury it. That must change.” 

Responsible for about 30% of warming and 86 times more harmful than carbon dioxide (CO2), methane is considered the second most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) after CO2 over its atmospheric lifetime of 12 years. 

Circular economy of organic wastes.

Circular economy of organic wastes.

In addition to helping reduce the effects of climate change, lowering methane emissions could have a significant impact on the health of populations. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), four million people die prematurely with SLCP (Short-Lived Climate Pollutants)-related illnesses and household air pollution per year, primarily in rural African communities. 

Finance was also a key talking point at the event, providing a sub-theme for one of the day’s talks.