A methane market?

Methane emitters to convert greenhouse gas into energy

Published: Wednesday 15 December 2004

india, Brazil, China, Russia, the us and nine other countries have signed the us -led Methane to Markets Partnership, an initiative that aims to capture the emission of the greenhouse gas (ghg) methane and use it as a fuel. Signed by ministers from each country in Washington dc, usa, on November 16, 2004, the goal of the partnership is to capture nine million tonnes of methane a year by 2015. The effort is to not only tap an energy source, but also address the problem of global warming.

Under the initiative, each country would undertake activities to capture methane from landfills, coalmines, and oil and gas operations. "The partnership will increase energy security, enhance economic growth, improve air quality, improve industrial safety and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says Mike Leavitt, the us Environment Protection Agency's administrator. The us would invest upto us $53 million in the next five years to develop and implement projects in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The partnership also envisages the active involvement of the private sector, financial institutions and non-governmental organisations.

Though methane is the second most prevalent ghg after carbon dioxide (co2), it is a distant second. It accounts for 16 per cent of all ghgs resulting from human activities. co2 accounts for 74 per cent. According to the us, the rationale behind targeting methane is that it is 20 times more potent in its heat-trapping property than co2. Moreover, it remains in the atmosphere for only about nine to 15 years, thereby providing an opportunity to realise immediate, cost-effective, environmental benefits.

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