Environmental policy

Environmental policy23.09.2023

Global commitment to cut methane emissions: opportunities and prospects for Kazakhstan

Alena Severinenko, The Center “Cooperation for Sustainable Development”

 The Global Metal Pledge (GMP) is an initiative aimed at reducing emissions of methane, one of the main greenhouse gases that significantly affects climate change. Methane (CH 4) has a much stronger greenhouse effect compared to carbon dioxide (CO 2), although its concentration in the atmosphere is much lower, so reducing methane emissions has great potential to reduce global warming.

The main sources of methane emissions can be:

•       Anthropogenic sources: methane emissions produced as a result of agricultural activities, extraction and transportation of fossil fuels, as well as landfills of organic waste.

•       Natural sources: methane emissions from wetlands, termites, emissions from terrestrial and marine geological sources, as well as thawing permafrost.

The goal of Global Methane Pledge (GMP) is to reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. GMP implementation will prevent warming by 0.2 °C by 2050, as well as keep the limits of global warming growth at no more than 1.5 °C. Within the framework of GMP, countries commit to using the methodology of greenhouse gas inventory of the best practices of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the highest level, as well as to work on continuously improving the accuracy, transparency and completeness of reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. At the global level, countries cooperate through international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to develop and implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. For example, the Paris Agreement adopted within the framework of the UN Convention on Climate Change in 2015, provides for obligations of countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, in order to achieve the global goal of limiting global warming. In addition, many countries are taking national measures and developing strategies to reduce methane emissions in various sectors of the economy: energy, agriculture, waste and transport. These measures include the use of more efficient technologies, methane utilization, control of emissions at enterprises and monitoring of greenhouse gases. However, in order to more effectively combat the problem of methane emissions and its impact on the climate, further strengthening of international cooperation and development of even more ambitious strategies and measures at the national level are necessary. Progress in implementation of global commitments on methane will play an important role in achieving sustainable and environmentally responsible development of the world.

Kazakhstan, as a country with diverse sources of methane emissions, can play an important role in reducing these emissions and take an active part in international efforts to combat climate change. According to the UNFCCC data for 2021, the energy sector accounts for the most methane emissions in Kazakhstan, followed by the agriculture and waste sector, and other sectors of the economy complete the list (scheme 1).


Let's analyze some of the opportunities and prospects for Kazakhstan: the gas industry, waste disposal, agriculture, energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as interaction with international programs.

Gas industry: Kazakhstan is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world. The introduction of technologies to reduce methane emissions during its extraction, transportation and processing can significantly reduce the country's contribution to the greenhouse effect.

Waste disposal: landfill waste and animal husbandry waste are significant sources of methane. Investing in modern waste disposal methods, such as biogas plants, can help reduce methane emissions into the atmosphere and at the same time contribute to the production of additional energy.

Agriculture: Agriculture also contributes significantly to methane emissions through organic waste recycling and rice growing. The use of advanced technologies, such as aerobic rice growing or modern manure treatment methods, can reduce these emissions.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy: Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy can help reduce the need to use fossil fuels such as natural gas, which in turn will reduce methane emissions.

Interaction with international programs: Kazakhstan can cooperate with international organizations and programs aimed at reducing methane emissions and participate in global initiatives to combat climate change. Implementing an effective policy to reduce methane emissions can bring several significant benefits to Kazakhstan, including reducing the negative impact on the environment, reducing energy costs and waste disposal, as well as supporting sustainable development and creating new environmentally friendly jobs. However, for the successful implementation of such measures, it is necessary to pay attention to technological development, innovation, financing and effective management of processes related to reducing methane emissions.

One of such innovative instruments is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which takes various actions aimed at supporting the development of "green" financing. The EBRD's regions of activity are 38 countries, including Kazakhstan (Fig. 1).

 


The EBRD is an international financial institution that provides financial support and investments in projects in Europe, Central Asia and other regions. The main task of the EBRD is to support sustainable development, stimulate the private sector and promote economic reforms. The EBRD supports private sector participation through policy reform, including the development of long-term low-carbon development paths. 64% of the EBRD's investments in the environment are in the private sector. The EBRD actively supports efforts to reduce methane emissions and combat climate change by funding and providing technical assistance for projects aimed at reducing methane emissions and improving environmental sustainability. At the same time, the EBRD has its own approach to reducing methane emissions (Table 1).

SCIENCE INVESTMENTS AND FINANCING POLICY AND MARKETS

 

The EBRD also intends to increase the mobilization of funds to the private sector to finance measures to combat climate change by 2025. In addition to the main financial support of the private sector, the EBRD has its own commitments in the climate:

•       Increasing the share of "green" financing to more than 50% of the annual business volume by 2025;

•       Bringing activities in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2022;

•       Doubling the attraction of climate financing of private sector by 2025

In one of her speeches, the President of the EBRD, Ms. Odile Renaud-Basso, very correctly noted: "The Bank supports the economies of the countries in which it invests in improving their environmental sustainability, including by supporting the fight against methane in the agro-industrial sector, waste and energy sectors. We intend to work closely with the signatories of the Global Methane Pledge to help them achieve this goal." The advantages of the Global Methane Pledge are obvious, but here they have more financial interest from the private sector. The below are other benefits of the Global Methane Pledge:

•       The signatory countries of the Pledge agree to take voluntary actions to achieve the collective goal of reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to the 2020 level, which will help to mitigate global temperature change by more than 0.2 °C by 2050.

•       150+ countries have joined the Pledge and gained access to international funding to assess the baseline and sources of methane emissions (among them Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan from the Central Asian region).

•       Reducing methane emissions can help achieve national corporate decarbonization goals and reduce the additional costs of exporting products that will follow the introduction of EU border carbon tax (Carbon Boarder Adjustment Mechanism).

The EBRD's work to reduce methane emissions is part of the institute's broad strategy to support sustainable development and combat climate change. It contributes to achievement of international climate goals and promotes sustainable development in the countries in which the EBRD actively operates. For clarity, the EBRD's methane reduction activities have been repaired (Fig.2).

   

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development actively supports projects related to the production and use of biogas and biomethane. Biogas is a gas that is formed as a result of the biological decomposition of organic materials under anaerobic conditions (in the absence of oxygen). Biogas mainly includes methane (CH 4) and carbon dioxide (CO 2), as well as small amounts of other gases.

The EBRD supports the following projects related to biogas and biomethane:

Biogas plants: The EBRD invests in construction and modernization of biogas plants that allow the processing of organic waste, such as agricultural waste, food waste and the production of biogas.

Biogas recycling projects: The EBRD finances projects for utilization of biogas in order to prevent its release into the atmosphere and use it as a renewable fuel or energy.

Biomethane production: The EBRD supports biomethane production projects by purifying and improving biogas to standards suitable for use in gas supply networks or as an autofuel.

The introduction of biogas and biomethane contributes to reducing methane emissions, which is an important step in combating climate change and achieving climate goals such as reducing the greenhouse effect and limiting global warming. The EBRD plays a key role in supporting such projects and stimulating the transition to more sustainable and environmentally responsible energy.

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