Global Methane Initiative

The Global Methane Initiative was started in November, 2004 by 14 governments worldwide to create an international body to reduce the amount of methane going into the air from agriculture, coal mining, landfills, and oil and natural gas exploration and usage. Currently, it is a voluntary effort by the United States government (with the US EPA taking the lead) and 37 other governments as well as the private sector, academia, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, etc. to share the technology and processes that work in methane reduction, recovery, and usage, and is supporting more than 300 projects worldwide using the resources and expertise of more than 1000 project network members. In the United States, specific programs are:

Agriculture: AgSTAR—This is a voluntary effort sponsored by the US EPA, US Department of Agriculture, and the US Department of Energy. The program pushes the use of methane recovery technologies for concentrated animal feeding and manure management in liquid or semi-liquid form. Currently, there are over 125 such systems in the United States, which are working with the World Bank to help other countries develop such technologies.

  • Coal Mining: Coalbed Methane Outreach Program—This is an EPA-sponsored voluntary program to reduce methane emissions from coal mining. The goal is to identify along with the coal mines and other industries methane emissions and implement methods of utilizing the gas as an energy source instead of making it a pollutant. The EPA is working with other coal mining countries especially China to utilize the latest technology to make methane an energy source.
  • Landfills: Landfill Methane Outreach Program—This is a voluntary program to find, trap, and use landfill gas as a renewable, green energy source. The EPA is working worldwide to assist other countries with the technology needed to use the landfill gas as an energy source.
  • Oil and Gas Systems: Natural Gas STAR Program—This is a voluntary partnership between the EPA and the oil and natural gas industry to identify and implement cost- effective technologies to reduce methane gas emissions. The EPA is working with a Mexican state-owned oil company to identify and implement a methane emission reduction project. (See endnote 30.)
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