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Climate Emergency Declaration: Biogas Can Abate 12% of GHG Emissions by 2030

A Climate Emergency Declaration by governments and communities is of little or no use unless it results in a commitment to an action plan. Most don't! So our announcement of the Biogas and Climate Change Commitment Declaration in 2019 was notable. Notable because this commitment is real. All the technology needed is available right now.

Furthermore, this technology can produce green biogas energy in significant quantities. In fact, this group of highly respected organisations has declared that used to its fullest, anaerobic digestion and biogas can abate 12% of global emissions, by 2030.

This must surely be very welcome news for all those that support climate change action.

In all the publicity surrounding government climate emergency declarations, we have seen a notable lack of climate emergency plans. Even when these are proposed, we've not seen any which use an established technology and are proven technology and are “shovel-ready” as quickly as this one.

In fact, commentators constantly quote wind and solar energy as if they are the only success stories which need further encouragement, as part of climate change abatement discussions.

This is so wrong.
Image shows placard saying there is no Planet B (climate emergency plan B)

It is also worrying the large number of pundits who talk of electric battery power as a great saviour.

Battery technology is such that making batteries is inherently unsustainable. Making batteries uses large quantities of rare metals and consumes fossil fuel energy for their manufacture.

Those are just some of the reasons why we are pleased to reproduce the following WBA Press Release (27 November 2019):

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

If all barriers were removed, the biogas industry could abate up to 4bn tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, representing at least 12% of today's global emissions, by 2030.

  • Today only 2% of the feedstock available globally to produce biogas is captured and recycled.
  • At the COP25 meeting, the World Biogas Association and its leading corporate members will present UNFCCC with a Declaration in which they commit to delivering the full potential of biogas by 2030 and call upon world governments to support this ambition.
In a ground-breaking Biogas and Climate Change Commitment Declaration, major biogas industry corporations, led by the World Biogas Association(WBA), call on the world's governments to act urgently to unlock the sector's potential to cut global greenhouse gases emissions by at least 12% within the next 10 years – and therefore make a considerable contribution towards meeting their Paris Agreement targets.
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 powerful biogas organisations join forces to both demands – and deliver – solutions to address climate change.
In its recent report, the Global Potential of Biogas, WBA estimated that the number of industrial AD plants operating globally is currently 132,000.  By 2030 there need to be at least 1 million large-scale installations (each handling over 100,000 t/pa of feedstock) plus millions of smaller-scale digesters, to achieve the emissions reduction targets.
Image shows climate change emergency plan discussion
WBA President David Newman (right) discussed the global potential of biogas with Niclas Svenningsen, Manager, Global Climate Action at UNFCCC, in July 2019 at the World Biogas Summit.

All of these units would enable the biogas industry to prevent 4bn tonnes of CO2 equivalent from being emitted annually – the equivalent of all the emissions of the EU28 in 2017.  The sector will need to invest some $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

WBA President David Newman said:
“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.”
David and WBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton delivered the Declaration in person to H.E.
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the COP25 meeting in Spain, which they were attending as the WBA. The WBA was an Observer Party to the Conference.
Signatories to the Declaration:
World Biogas Association
Asia Biogas, Thailand
Clarke Energy, UK
DMT Environmental Technology, Netherlands & USA
Eisenmann Corporation, USA
ENGIE, France
Greenlane Renewables, Canada
Greve Biogass, Norway
Grissan, UK
Nature Energy, Denmark
OMEX Environmental, UK
SHV Energy, Netherlands
SUEZ, France
WELLE Environmental Group, China


Climate Emergency Declarations Explained

A climate emergency declaration or climate emergency plan, declaring a state of climate emergency, has been issued since 2016 by certain countries and other jurisdictions to set priorities to mitigate climate change.

In declaring a climate emergency, a government admits that global warming exists and that the measures taken up to this point are not enough to limit the changes brought by it.

The declarations can be made on different levels, for example at a national or local government level, and they can differ in depth and detail in their guidelines. The term climate emergency does not only describe formal decisions, but also includes actions to avert climate change. This is supposed to justify and focus them. The specific term “emergency” is used to assign priority to the topic, and to generate a mindset of urgency.

Climate emergency as a term was used in protests against climate change before 2010 (e.g. In 2017 the city council of Darebin adopted multiple measures named “Darebin Climate Emergency Plan”). On December 4th, 2018, the Club of Rome presented their “Climate Emergency Plan”, which included 10 high-priority measures to limit global warming. With the rise of movements like Extinction Rebellion and Fridays For Future the concern has been picked up by various governments.

Multiple European cities and communities who declared a climate emergency are simultaneously members of the Klima-Bündnis (German for climate alliance), which obligates them to lower their CO2 emissions by 10% every five years.

According to the UK Green Party politician Carla Denyer, the first governmental declaration of climate emergency was made in the City of Darebin in Melbourne, Australia.

On 28th April 2019, the Scottish Parliament declared a climate emergency, making Scotland the first country to do so.

In 2019, according to an eight-country poll, a majority of the public recognise the climate crisis as an “emergency” and say politicians are failing to tackle the problem, backing the interests of big oil over the wellbeing of ordinary people.

The Australian Greens Party is calling on the federal Parliament to declare a climate emergency.

In November 2019 the Oxford Dictionaries made the term climate emergency Word of the Year.

On 28 November 2019, the European Parliament declared a climate emergency.[30][31] The EU represents 28 member states. via en.wikipedia.org

What is a Climate Emergency Declaration?

A climate emergency declaration is a formal statement made by an organisation (usually a government body), that global warming exists and that the measures taken up to this point are not enough to limit the changes brought by it.

The call for declaring a climate emergency is not structured movement with a specific guideline and a set of criteria as such. It is an open ‘movement of movements', and there are many opinions floating around about what is the best strategy.

Eventually, it is up to each individual council to make up its mind about what it wants to suggest and to implement.

The Paris Agreement's 1.5°C goal is not a safe goal.

We’ve risen to big challenges in the past when an emergency has been declared, with citizens and all sides of politics rising to the occasion and working together for the common good. via CEDeclare

Cornwall Council Declaration of a Climate Emergency

On 22 January 2019 Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency. The Council committed to preparing a report within 6 months, outlining how to reduce carbon emissions and work toward becoming carbon neutral by 2030. As part of the process we spoke to thousands of residents across Cornwall and on 24 July 2019 the Cabinet unanimously approved the ambitious plan. via www.cornwall.gov.uk

How Serious is this Emergency?

Families facing climate change placard.
CC BY-SA by John Englart (Takver)

We are now in the biggest emergency ever – the climate emergency. Already people are dying and ecosystems are being destroyed.

We know what needs to be achieved – right now – and we already have the technology to do it. We must face up to climate facts, go into emergency mode, and throw everything we’ve got at restoring a safe climate.

We know from our experience of full-scale wartime mobilisations that amazing economic transformations can be achieved in just a few years when we face an existential threat. Let's demand equally strong leadership and action from our peacetime government in order to protect everything we love. via CED.org

Wales Declares a Climate Emergency

“We hope that the declaration by Welsh Government today can help to trigger a wave of action at home and internationally. From our own communities, businesses and organisations to parliaments and governments around the world.

“Tackling climate change is not an issue which can be left to individuals or to the free market. It requires collective action and the government has a central role to making that collective action possible.

Leading Role for Wales

“No nation in the world has yet fully grasped this challenge but just as Wales played a leading role in the first industrial revolution, I believe Wales can provide an example to others of what it means to achieve environmental growth.

“Our sustainable development and environmental legislation is already recognised as world leading and now we must use that legislation to set a new pace of change.”

Wales Has a Policy of Targeting for a Carbon Neutral Public Sector by 2030

The Welsh Government has committed to achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030 and to coordinating action to help other areas of the economy to make a decisive shift away from fossil fuels, involving academia, industry and the third sector. Last month, it published Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales, which sets out 100 policies and proposals to meet the 2020 carbon emissions targets. via gov.wales

MPs say that:

“We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis.”

“Dozens of towns and cities across the UK have already declared “a climate emergency”.

There is no single definition of what that means but many local areas say they want to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

Some councils have promised to introduce electric car hubs or build sustainable homes to try to achieve that goal.

The Welsh 2030 target is a much more ambitious target than the UK government's, which is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. via www.bbc.com

[Article first posted in December 2019.]

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  1. Reply

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Forest fires, flooding, rising seas, terrible storms. This is a must do…

    • Stocky
    • December 20, 2019

    Heyy there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. OKAY.

    But the world won’t end in 2030. That’s a bad thing to say to young children.

    Climate emergency is one thing but you must not frighten the kids by saying the world will end.


      • radimin
      • December 31, 2019

      Yes. Nowhere do we say that here, and I do appreciate how that could be a scary thought for the young.

  2. Reply

    Remarkable! If someone has a way to reduce carbon output by 12% WTF are the politicians waiting for? New South Wales is on fire, and it can only get worse. No rain will be forecast ’till February likely.

    • LeahyLily
    • December 22, 2019

    Aw, rooting for the planet. Spending some time and actual effort to write a positive Climate Rescue article… but what can I say… I hesitate about whether this is possible.

    • Big Murch
    • December 27, 2019

    Hi. I have checked your anaerobic-digestion.com. I also see this. UK is small. China is no1, then america ,then developing India. What will China do?

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