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EPA Helps Launch Global Methane Initiative to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Countries to fight climate change while developing clean energy and stronger economies 

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Mexico's Ministry of Environment along with thirty-six other countries, the European Commission, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank launched a new Global Methane Initiative that urges stronger international action to address near-term climate change.  The initiative expands on existing global efforts to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, while providing significant clean energy, human health, environmental and economic benefits. EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy, represented the agency at the meetings that took place September 30 and October 1 in Mexico City. 

"Methane emissions pollute the air we breathe and contribute to the global challenge of climate change, and leaving them untapped is a major missed opportunity. Through this growing partnership we can convert this harmful pollutant into clean energy and create new economic prospects for people around the world," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "I'm looking forward to working with our global partners to reduce pollution, strengthen clean energy innovations, and make our planet healthier, stronger and more prosperous for future generations."

The United States is pledging $50 million over the next five years to the Global Methane Initiative and is seeking similar pledges from other developed countries, to support implementing methane emissions reduction projects and technologies. EPA estimates that an enhanced global effort to reduce methane emissions could achieve reductions of more than 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent - about the same as the annual emissions from more than 280 million cars.

The initiative will build on the existing structure and success of the Methane to Markets Partnership, an international partnership launched in 2004, while enhancing and expanding its efforts and encouraging new financial commitments from developed country partners.  All the representatives at the meeting affirmed that the work of the initiative will continue to ensure international cooperation in a manner that is supportive of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Methane to Markets Partnership is one of the most effective international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, growing from 14 to 38 country partners, representing approximately 70 percent of global methane emissions today.  More than 1,000 public and private sector organizations are members of the project network and have helped the program to leverage nearly $480 million in investment from private companies and financial institutions.

More information about the Global Methane Initiative: http://www.methanetomarkets.org/gmi

More information about EPA's International Priorities: http://www.epa.gov/international/topsix.html

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