During what could be perceived as a warm-up act for the Central Americans’ hosting of COP 16 in early November, the Methane to Markets conference will bring together representatives from much of the developed world, including pollution powerhouses China, India and the US.

Often overshadowed in the media with talk of CO2 reductions, methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere.

Earlier this month, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson confirmed she would use the Methane to Markets event to encourage global action to reduce methane emissions.

“With methane and other harmful pollutants hurting our world’s atmosphere, addressing climate change and improving air quality are domestic and international priorities that require every country’s help and ideas,” said Ms Jackson.

“The Methane to Markets partnership has made tremendous strides in this effort. I’m looking forward to our meeting in October and our continued work together to cut methane emissions worldwide.”

The meeting, co-hosted by EPA and Mexico’s Ministry of Environment, will also celebrate the accomplishments of the partnership, which include supporting more than 300 methane emission reduction projects around the world.

US officials claim that the partnership’s projects – when fully developed – will reduce annual GHG emissions equivalent to removing 11.4 million cars from the road.

Representing almost 70 per cent of those nations responsible for global methane emissions, the partnership has already leveraged nearly $360million (approximately £231million) in investment from private companies and financial institutions. This money is then put into promoting cost-effective recovery and use of methane through global projects.

The Methane to Markets partnership event will take place on Friday 1 October 2010; one month before November’s COP 16.

Sam Plester

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