This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 28, 2004

United States to Help Form New International Methane Partnership

DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on July 28th that the United States and seven other countries—Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine—will form the "Methane to Markets Partnership" to develop and promote cooperation on the recovery and use of methane. Methane is a clean-burning fuel that is the main component of natural gas and is also a potent greenhouse gas. The Partnership will focus on deploying cost-effective technologies in landfill gas-to-energy projects, methane recovery projects at coal mines, and improvements in natural gas systems.

Capturing methane emissions and converting them to energy is among the most cost-effective approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and it also provides an energy source that improves quality of life in local communities. The new partnership has the potential to reduce net methane emissions by up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent annually by 2015 and continue at that level or higher in the future—a greenhouse gas reduction equal to removing 33 million cars from roadways for one year or eliminating emissions from fifty 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants.

The United States will commit up to $53 million over the next five years to help develop and implement methane projects in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and similar contributions are anticipated from other developed countries. The EPA will lead the Methane to Markets Partnership, which will be officially launched at a Ministerial Conference in Washington, D.C., in November 2004. For more information, see the EPA press release, the EPA Methane International Activities Web page, and the DOE press release, as well as a statement by President Bush regarding the new partnership.