U.S. Experts Host Global Methane Initiative Workshop in Moscow (October 10-11, 2012)
U.S. Experts Host Global Methane Initiative Workshop in Moscow
Moscow | October 10-11, 2012
When asked about contributing factors to climate change, most people will readily name carbon dioxide emissions. Few will mention methane – even though it is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas. Major sources of methane in the atmosphere are flaring, venting and leakage from oil and gas systems, which together account for 22 percent of world methane emissions. That leakage results in up to eight percent of total worldwide natural gas production being lost before it even leaves the gas field.
The good news is that government and industry in the U.S. and Russia are working together to address this problem.
On October 10-11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Defense Fund sponsored a workshop in Moscow to discuss best practices and share experience in reducing methane emissions. The workshop was attended by representatives of several Russian oil and gas companies and regional governments. Like their U.S. counterparts, many Russian oil and gas companies are already actively reducing their methane emissions. The workshop helped participants explore successful strategies to lower emissions even further. For example, under the EPA’s Natural Gas Star International Program, companies voluntarily reduce methane leakage or capture it for use in generating electricity to be used at gas fields or in nearby communities. One common workshop theme was that many improvements can be made relatively easily, and in most cases, fairly inexpensively, with existing technologies and practices.
Scott Parrish, who focuses on environmental issues at the U.S. Embassy, delivered a brief presentation on the Climate and Clean Air Initiative (CCAC), a voluntary coalition of countries, including the United States, who seek to combat global warming by reducing short term climate pollutants like methane and black carbon. Through workshops like these, the U.S. aims to expand and deepen cooperation with Russian partners to reduce methane emissions.