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U.S., International Partners Pledge Faster Greenhouse Gas Reductions with Methane Program

Release Date: 11/07/2005
Contact Information: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 /millett.john@epa.gov

(11/7/05) 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 Nov. 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.

"We're making substantial progress in developing the programs and technologies necessary to promote energy security and reduce global methane emissions," EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum said. "The international collaboration and action we've seen this week lays the groundwork for additional success."

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.

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 megawatt coal-fired power plants; or providing enough energy to heat approximately 7.2 million households for one year.

Key outcomes of the second annual Methane to Markets Partnership meeting include:

· Announcement of a Methane to Markets Project Expo, highlighting project opportunities, successes, and methane recovery and use technologies, to be held in 2007;

· Development of action plans that will serve as the basis for accelerated action by partner countries and Project Network members;

· Addition of a new Agriculture Subcommittee to address methane emissions, particularly through manure-management practices;

· Expansion of the partnership to include Ecuador as the 17th member, which means that Methane to Markets now represents more than 60 percent of global methane emissions;

· Commitment by all participants to substantial expansion of the Project Network, with a focus on enrollment of more private companies, development banks, and others; and

· Identification of funding sources for a range of methane recovery projects across the globe.

    For more information, visit the new Methane to Markets Partnership site at: http://www.epa.gov/methanetomarkets/