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Global biogas leaders call on governments to unlock the full potential of biogas in addressing the climate emergency

At the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) meeting in Madrid, Spain, the World Biogas Association (WBA) and its leading corporate members will present the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with a Biogas and Climate Change Commitment Declaration in which they commit to delivering the full potential of biogas by 2030 and call upon world governments to support this ambition.

The anaerobic digestion (AD) process helps reduce organic waste volumes, odour and closes the nutrient loop through returning digestate back to the soil. According to the World Biogas Association (WBA), there needs to be at least 1 million large scale installations, each handling over 100 000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of feedstock plus millions of smaller-scale digesters in operation by 2030 requiring some US$5 trillion of investment if the sector is to achieve its global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction potential of 12% within the next decade.

In a Biogas and Climate Change Commitment Declaration,  the corporate members of the World Biogas Association (WBA), call on the world’s governments to act urgently to unlock the sector’s potential to cut global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 12 percent within the next decade – and therefore make a considerable contribution towards meeting their Paris Agreement targets.

The signatories to the Declaration are companies that develop and finance, design, build and operate industrial anaerobic digestion (AD) plants and related infrastructure globally to treat and recycle biodegradable wastes and feedstocks to produce biogas or biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG),  green carbon dioxide (CO2), natural fertilisers and other bioproducts.

In return, these companies commit to putting their “full human, financial and technological resources” behind enabling the rapid expansion of biogas in all parts of the globe. It is the first time that so many biogas organisations join forces to demand – and deliver – solutions to address climate change.

The WBA, a global trade association for the biogas, landfill gas (LFG) and anaerobic digestion (AD) sectors, is dedicated to facilitating the adoption of biogas globally. WBA was launched at COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016.

Need to invest US$5 trillion

In its recent report, the Global Potential of Biogas, WBA estimated that the number of industrial plants operating globally is currently 132 000. By 2030 there needs to be at least 1 million large scale installations, each handling over 100 000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of feedstock plus millions of smaller-scale digesters, to achieve the emissions reductions targets.

All of these units would enable the biogas industry to prevent 4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) from being emitted annually – the equivalent of all the emissions of the EU28 in 2017.

The sector will need to invest some US$5 trillion to design, build and operate those plants, but all barriers to those investments existing today must be eliminated if the industry is to achieve its goal.

If deployed to its full potential, WBA estimates that the industry would employ around 10 million people worldwide, from 350 000 currently.

With measures on the ground not yet aligned with countries’ Paris Agreement targets and UN Sustainable Development Goals commitments, the biogas industry calls on the world’s governments to urgently pass legislation to unleash the enormous potential of the biogas industry. We provide a ready to use technology to cut emissions in the hardest to decarbonise sectors while creating a circular system that transforms the greenhouse gas-emitting organic wastes society produces into renewable energy, biofertilisers, and other valuable bioproducts. The speed at which climate change is accelerating emphasises the urgent need for responses that go beyond business-as-usual to remove the barriers to large scale investment in biogas technologies. We need decisive actions now, said WBA President David Newman.

David Newman President of WBA, and Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of WBA will deliver the Declaration to H.E. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the COP25 meeting in Spain, which they will be attending as the WBA is an Observer Party to the Conference.

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