Policy Actions to Mitigate Methane in Latin America

Efforts to combat global climate change are fought on many fronts. Although many developed countries manage to divert a high percentage of waste away from sanitary landfills through recycling, composting, refuse-derived fuel, and waste to energy, many developing countries rely heavily upon landfill or open dump disposal because it is the only viable option. Often inadequate, these landfills emit methane gas that migrates out of the ground and into the atmosphere, significantly contributing to global warming.

For many developing countries, this state of affairs results in a much higher percentage of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the waste sector. As emissions come mainly from solid waste disposal and wastewater treatment facilities, contribution to overall GHGs in the country can amount to double-digits percentages. This contrasts sharply with developed countries, where the waste sector contributes around 3 percent of total GHG emissions. To remedy this, in January 2012, CCAP embarked on a partnership with Environment Canada (Canada’s Ministry of Environment) to support the development of nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) in the waste sector in four Latin American Countries: Colombia, Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

The NAMA framework provides an opportunity for developed and developing countries to work collaboratively in targeting emissions that contribute to climate change. As Canada focuses on improving solid waste management and reducing its GHG intensity, developing countries aim to craft well designed policies that also attract financial support for implementation. CCAP’s Mitigation Action Implementation Network, which provides a forum for developing countries to share and learn about best practices in developing NAMAs, has underscored the importance preparing NAMA proposals for international support from donor countries. CCAP will be presenting jointly with country partners from Colombia, Chile, and the Dominican Republic this evening to showcase potential waste NAMAs developed using funds received through the CCAC/Environment Canada partnership in order to attract  international donor support and to demonstrate to other developing countries the opportunities for formulating NAMAs in the solid waste management sector.

In the coming months, CCAP plans on developing NAMA proposals that will include a detailed explanation of actions, estimated emission reductions and cost, the need for international finance assistance, as well as identified metrics for monitoring, reporting and verifying. CCAP expects some of these NAMAs will represent some of the most ambitious climate actions being done on the ground in the waste sector that significantly impact GHG emissions while supporting local sustainable development efforts. By implementing these types of NAMAs, methane emissions can be greatly mitigated by diverting more and more refuse from landfills, and landfill gas can be utilized as a resource.

To ensure that both developing countries and donor governments are familiar with the NAMA model, CCAP is providing more insight into these opportunities through a video that provides a glimpse into the innovative program in Colombia that would reduce methane gas emissions from landfills and showcases the collaborative work of developed and developing countries.

The Global Methane Initiative – Targeting the Municipal Solid Waste Sector to Reduce a Powerful Greenhouse Gas

CCAP will be showcasing progress made in the Canadian-funded waste NAMA initiative tonight at the Methane Expo 2013 in Vancouver, Canada. The expo is a forum to showcase the efforts that the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) has put forth to reduce global emissions of methane, a powerful GHG that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year atmospheric lifetime and 72 times more over a shorter period such as 20 years. The CCAP-hosted event will feature special guests from Colombia, Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic and highlight actions that CCAP has achieved in partnership with national and municipal governments. Presentations will include the following:

Colombia: National Policies to Increase Waste Diversion Projects – Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Environment

Chile: Organic Waste Diversion for Municipalities and Salmon and Wine Industries – Environment Ministry

Dominican Republic: Opportunities to Supply Electricity to Hotels: Biomass and WTE Technologies – National Council for Climate Change and CDM

The 2013 Methane Expo is hosted by Canada and the US Environmental Protection Agency and is supported by GMI’s 42 partner governments and over 1,100 other public and private organizations. In addition to municipal solid waste, GMI includes under its purview other heavy methane emitting sectors, such as agriculture, coal mines, municipal wastewater, and oil and gas systems.

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