Kerry: U.S. Pledges $15M to Cut Methane Emissions

By | September 25, 2014 | 11:07am EDT

Cows are a significant source of methane emissions. (AP File Photo)

( - Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week that the U.S. will contribute $15 million to limit methane emissions, which he described as “20 times more dangerous and damaging than carbon dioxide.”

Speaking at a Climate Week event in New York City on Monday, Kerry said the $15 million in taxpayer money will be used to “kick-start” the World Bank’s pilot auction program:

“This initiative will set up a guaranteed price for each ton of methane that project developers are able to cut from their facilities, which means that these developers, we hope, will be much more inclined to cut methane from livestock, landfills, waste treatment facilities, because they’ll be able to do so with the confidence that they’re going to be able to get an adequate if not better return on their investment,” said Kerry.

The Pilot Auction Facility (PAF) describes itself as “an innovative climate finance model” intended to stimulate investment in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is a by-product of various industrial and agricultural processes – mainly waste and fossil-fuel extraction. Much of it is naturally occurring:

“And I hate to say this to you, Kerry said, “but among the many challenges we face, in parts of the world where the permafrost is melting, you have automatic natural emissions of methane. There are places in the world you can go where the methane is bubbling up through the ocean, that you can take a match and light it and it will ignite.”

Kerry called it a serious challenge: “How do you capture this methane, in various parts of the world?”

Kerry said the U.S. cannot reduce greenhouse gas emissions on its own: "And this is why the United States is prepared to take the lead in order to bring other nations (especially China and India) to the table.

"And as Secretary of State, I promise you I am personally committed to making sure that this is front and center in all of our diplomatic efforts."

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