An international partnership to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas methane expanded today as the European Commission joined the United States and 19 other countries in finding ways to promote the recovery of methane and its use for energy.
The primary component of natural gas, methane accounts for 16 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities. As a greenhouse gas, methane is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping the Sun's heat close to the planet. But when recovered from landfills, coal mines, or animal feeding operations, methane can become a clean-burning fuel.
The Methane to Markets Partnership was launched in November 2004 as a public-private partnership focusing on reducing four sources of methane emissions - animal waste management, coal mines, landfills, and oil and gas systems.
European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said, "The European Commission looks forward to collaborating within the Methane to Markets Partnership to further our joint goals of reducing climate change by utilizing the EU’s existing capacities in methane capture and use technologies."