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19 December 2022— On 31 October 2022, at the 34th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, the United Nations Environment Program Ozone Secretariat, and the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) launched the celebratory Montreal Protocol 35th Anniversary Book Protecting the Ozone Layer.

The electronic version (Kindle Edition) of the book has now become available for purchase on Amazon. You can purchase the book here

The book highlights the Montreal Protocol’s successes and innovation during its first 35 years and inspires new ambition to strengthen the protection of stratospheric ozone as well as the climate before Earth passes dangerous tipping points that could cause irreversible and abrupt climate change.

The 35th-anniversary book by Dr. Stephen O Andersen, IGSD Director of Research and Former Co-Chair of the Technology and Economics Assessment Panel (1989–2012), and Marco Gonzalez, Former Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat (2002–2013), edited by Sally Rand, Former TEAP member and Foam Technical Options Committee Co-Chair (1993–1998) was written by an additional 56 co-authors and two dozen additional collaborators from 23 Parties, including 10 from Article 5 Parties.

The authors are working with Amazon to facilitate the option of a print-on-demand version of the book. Additional developments to be announced.

Climate emissions are accelerating and the 1.5°C guardrail for keeping the climate relatively safe could be crossed within a decade or less. The risk of accelerating self-reinforcing feedbacks where the Earth starts to warm itself and passing irreversible tipping points with potentially catastrophic impacts increases with every fraction of warming. Six climate tipping points become likely, with another four possible, between 1.5°C and 2°C, according to a recent assessment. At COP27 governments must commit to speed and scale up climate action to avoid the most warming in the shortest period of time and to protect the most vulnerable people and ecosystems. Their action this November will decide the fate of billions of people, for years to come. IGSD experts are available to comment.

In their May 2022 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dreyfus, Zaelke, and co-authors clarify the need for a dual strategy that simultaneously reduces the non-carbon dioxide pollutants, especially the short-lived pollutants like methane, which would enable the world to stay well below the 2°C limit, and significantly improve the chance of remaining below the 1.5°C guardrail.

Durwood Zaelke, with four decades of climate negotiation experience, is the founder and president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. His focus is on fast mitigation strategies to protect the climate, including reducing the short-lived climate pollutants–methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), black carbon, and tropospheric ozone. Over the past two decades, Zaelke helped craft climate policies under the Montreal Protocol and is now focused on methane mitigation at the global level. Zaelke is an adjunct professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development.

“We are out of time to continue slow-walking climate solutions. All governments must refocus climate policy on 2030 and make this decade the decade of climate action.”

“At COP27 methane action must be given top priority. Methane is a blow torch that’s cooking the planet today. If we stop methane leaks, we shut off the blow torch and avoid more warming in the next couple of decades than any other strategy—nearly 0.3°C —which can slow the rate of warming almost immediately.”

Contactzaelke@igsd.org

 Dr. Gabrielle Dreyfus is Chief Scientist at the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. She is a climate scientist and policy expert with over a decade of experience working in the U.S. government to advance international climate and clean energy policy. Dr. Dreyfus is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She is a member of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel and served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on the Development of a Framework for Evaluating Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information for Decision Making. She has previously served as a technical reviewer of the IEA report Curtailing Methane Emissions from Fossil Fuel Operations, the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, and UNEP and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition’s Global Methane Assessment, and led the 2020 UNEP and IEA Cooling Synthesis ReportSee the full publication list here.

“The IPCC says we must make deep cuts to GHG immediately. Latest research shows that phasing out fossil fuels is essential but must be paired with targeted action now on methane, black carbon soot, HFCs, and smog. This dual strategy is the only way to slow warming over the next two decades and give ourselves a fighting chance for a livable climate.”

“It is time for governments to commit to climate action at COP27 that meets the speed and scale needed to tackle the climate emergency.”

Contactgdreyfus@igsd.org

For additional press inquiries, contact IGSD Media Coordinator Giselle Gonzalez, ggonzalez@igsd.org

 

20 October 2022, Washington, DC — Minimizing refrigerant leaks and maximizing end-of-life recovery and reclamation can avoid fluorocarbon emissions equivalent to 90 billion metric tons of CO2 this century and help avoid climate catastrophe, according to a new report released today by Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The report, The 90 Billion Ton Opportunity: Lifecycle Refrigerant Management, lays out this significant opportunity for federal and state policymakers, major corporations, and equipment owners and operators. Embracing Lifecycle Refrigerant Management can prevent fluorocarbon emissions equal to nearly three full years of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions today.

“We humans have manufactured these potent pollutants that are being needlessly released when we have both the know-how and a huge value proposition for industry and the public to capture them,” said Christina Starr, Senior Policy Analyst from the Environmental Investigation Agency, and a co-author of the report. “The science clearly tells us we need faster and deeper HFC emission reductions to avoid dangerous climate tipping points and remain below 1.5°C of warming, and this is a very real opportunity to get them.”

“Refrigerant releases are an invisible climate culprit. Lifecycle refrigerant management provides clear and tangible interventions that can prevent the release of billions of tons of CO2e emissions across the refrigerant value chain to help us stave off the worst impacts of climate change,” said Christina Theodoridi, Industrial Policy Advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council and co-author of the report.

Even as the world moves to climate-friendlier refrigerant gases under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a huge and still-growing legacy of old, climate- and ozone-damaging gases continues to amass in nearly every nook and cranny of the world. The report outlines ways to get those fluorocarbon gases back into tanks and properly reused or disposed of. In the U.S., the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act – the legislation that phases down HFCs by 85 percent over the next 15 years – contains new provisions yet to be implemented regarding just that.

“The AIM Act grants EPA the authority to minimize leaks and maximize recovery, reclaim, and destruction. This makes a wide range of options available at the federal level to make lifecycle refrigerant management a climate policy priority,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

Many in industry agree that reducing wasteful refrigerant leaks and increasing the amount of refrigerant reclaimed is a worthy goal. “Increasing refrigerant reclamation is a win-win for businesses and the environment,” says Bruce Ernst from A-gas, a refrigerant reclaimer who was also a technical advisor to the report’s authors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week released a Notice of Data Availability requesting public feedback on current fluorocarbon recovery and reclamation practices, marking the start of national policymaking in this important area. EPA also released a proposed rule extending its HFC allowance allocation framework, which is responsible for administering the phasedown of virgin HFC supply, to the years 2024-2029.

The full report is here.

A blog post on the report is here.

***

Background

Refrigerants are commonly used in home air conditioners, refrigerators, and heat pumps. They are also found in vehicle air conditioners and commercial and industrial cooling equipment. Many refrigerants are super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are thousands of times stronger greenhouse gases than CO2. Older refrigerators and air conditioners pose an even greater risk since they can contain ozone depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as refrigerants, which are also potent greenhouse gases.

Refrigerants can be recovered and reused, or destroyed once they are no longer needed. Unfortunately, refrigerants are instead often vented to the atmosphere at the end of a product’s useful life, contributing to climate pollution and, in the case of older refrigerants, ozone layer damage. Although intentionally releasing refrigerants that harm the environment is illegal in the United States, noncompliance widespread. That, paired with the lack of a comprehensive policy framework for recovery and reuse have resulted in low levels of refrigerant recovery relative to what’s possible. Unrepaired leaks also are a major—but fixable—source of refrigerant waste and emissions.

Without a robust lifecycle refrigerant management regime, approximately 90 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent of ozone-depleting and HFC refrigerants will be released by the end of this century. This includes refrigerant already in use today, and refrigerant expected to be produced through 2100 under the current phasedown schedule of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is a legally binding treaty that was signed by President Reagan in 1987 and approved unanimously by the Senate in 1988. The treaty is widely regarded as the most successful global environmental treaty. Over its 35 years of operation and several amendments, the Montreal Protocol has phased down nearly 100 chemicals that damage the stratospheric ozone layer and put the Earth’s protective ozone layer on the path to recovery. Because ozone depleting CFCs and HCFCs also were also extremely potent greenhouse gases, the Montreal Protocol saved the planet from catastrophic climate change as well as from ozone layer destruction. According to United Nations Environmental Programme, “if ozone-depleting chemicals had not been banned, we would be looking at a global temperature rise of an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century. This would have been a catastrophe.”

Under the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, upstream production and consumption of HFCs will gradually be phased down 85% by mid-century, avoiding up to 0.5°C of warming this century. On September 21, the United States Senate voted in favor of ratifying the Kigali Amendment with bipartisan support. The US joins over 135 other countries, including China and India, that have also ratified the Kigali Amendment.

As with prior Montreal Protocol Amendments, the Kigali Amendment focuses on phasing down new refrigerant production; it does little to ensure that existing refrigerant already contained in appliances and equipment be dealt with in an environmentally responsible manner. For this reason, the AIM Act – U.S. implementing legislation – takes specific steps to authorize U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be more ambitious in mitigating leaks and maximize refrigerant reclamation than what may strictly be required by the treaty.

Reducing HFCs avoids up to 0.5°C of future warming

 Climate benefits double with parallel improvements in energy efficiency

 21 September 2022, Washington, DC — In a major victory for the planet, the US Senate voted to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down super climate pollutants called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used primarily as refrigerants in air conditioners and other cooling equipment. The Kigali Amendment needed the approval of a two-thirds super-majority of the chamber, which it received with the support of 21 Republican and 48 Democratic Senators. It is the first climate treaty to clear the Senate in decades.

Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, said:

“Ratification confirms President Biden’s continuing climate leadership. It also confirms his appreciation of the need for speed to address the climate emergency and the critical role played by cutting HFCs. He and his team know that cutting the short-lived climate pollutants—HFCs, black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone—is the only strategy that we are certain can slow warming in the next 20 years.”

“Without the Montreal Protocol civilization would have already completely descended into climate chaos. If ozone-depleting chemicals had not been banned, we would be looking at a global temperature rise of an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century. This would have already pushed our planet past irreversible tipping points. The Kigali Amendment is among our most significant climate wins from the best environmental treaty in the world. US ratification is another huge victory for the planet.” 

“When you line up business goals with environmental goals, you can get bipartisan support at home and North-South support globally for stronger multilateralism. We need to learn from the Montreal Protocol and apply the lessons more broadly to have a fighting chance to keep the climate safe.”

After nearly a decade of talks, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was agreed by the Parties in October 2016 to phase down super polluting HFCs. The Amendment, first championed by the Federated States of Micronesia and other low-lying island states, represents the single biggest piece of climate mitigation to date—and the only piece under a mandatory treaty— with the potential to avoid up to 0.5°C of future warming. Beyond phasing down HFCs, improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment has the potential to at least double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment in the near term.

A 2018 industry report forecast that phasing down HFCs in the U.S. will also increase exports, create 150,000 more American jobs, generate billions in new investments, and save American consumers $3.7 billion over 15 years.

As part of the year-end spending bill in 2020, Congress already provided federal authority to phase down HFC production and consumption in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Known as the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, the law mandated a reduction in the climate impacts of HFCs produced and consumed in the USA by 85% over the next 15 years, and provided EPA with the authority to regulate HFCs even faster in key sectors.

In 2021 President Biden formally submitted the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for ratification, and the Foreign Relations Committee advanced it out of committee with bipartisan support earlier this summer. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 64-30 in favor of a procedural motion to limit debate on ratification that teed up the final vote on Kigali.

Ratification will allow the US to continue providing political leadership in the Montreal Protocol to do still more climate mitigation, including by reducing the “banks” of HFCs and related refrigerants in cooling equipment at produce end of life, closing the loophole for feedstocks, and adding N2O, the last chemical that destroys stratospheric ozone and causes warming. Ratification allows US industry to continue its leading role in providing climate-friendly substitutes for HFCs.

To date, the Kigali Amendment has been ratified by 137 Parties, including China and India. The Senate’s ratification also declared that China was no longer a developing country and should not be treated as such and that the US should submit a proposal to the Montreal Protocol to clarify this.  The treaty makes decisions by consensus, and China and all other Parties will have to agree that it’s time for China to graduate.

NOTE: The Montreal Protocol was first signed by President Reagan in 1987, and approved unanimously by the Senate in 1988; the previous four amendments also were approved unanimously by the Senate. The treaty is widely regarded as the most successful global environmental treaty.

Over its 35 years of operation, the Montreal Protocol has phased down nearly 100 chemicals that damage the stratospheric ozone layer by nearly 100% and put the protective ozone layer on the path to recovery.

Because the chemicals, including CFCs and HCFCs, also warm the planet, the Montreal Protocol, together with earlier consumer boycotts and related national measures to control these chemicals, has avoided warming that otherwise would have equaled or exceeded the warming carbon dioxide is causing today, which is a bit more than half of global warming. According to United Nations Environmental Programme, “if ozone-depleting chemicals had not been banned, we would be looking at a global temperature rise of an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century. This would have been a catastrophe.”

Although they do not destroy the ozone layer, HFCs also are powerful climate pollutants, part of the short-lived climate pollutants which include methane, tropospheric ozone, and black carbon soot.

Cutting short-lived climate pollutants in the next decade can cut the rate of climate warming by half and Arctic warming by two-thirds, a critical strategy for keeping the planet safe as countries pursue the goals of net-zero climate emissions by 2050.

16 September 2022— In celebration of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the United Nations Environment Program Ozone Secretariat announced the release of a new book celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. The book highlights the Montreal Protocol’s successes and innovation during its first 35 years and inspires new ambition to strengthen the protection of stratospheric ozone as well as the climate before Earth passes dangerous tipping points that could cause irreversible and abrupt climate change.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, can rightfully claim to be one of the most successful international treaties ever struck. The treaty fulfilled its original objective by putting the stratospheric ozone layer on the road to recovery, but its effects have not stopped there: it has also done more than any other measure to date to combat climate change.

The Montreal Protocol has achieved all this through a united, indeed unanimous, world community. The Montreal Protocol is the first and only treaty ever to have been ratified by every nation on Earth.

The 35th-anniversary book by Dr. Stephen O Andersen, IGSD Director of Research and Former Co-Chair of the Technology and Economics Assessment Panel (1989–2012), and Marco Gonzalez, Former Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat (2002–2013), edited by Sally Rand, Former TEAP member and Foam Technical Options Committee Co-Chair (1993–1998), was written by an additional 56 co-authors and two dozen additional collaborators from 23 Parties, including 10 from Article 5 Parties.

Over 20 Chapters and 7 Appendixes, it tells the story of inspired treaty design based on new principles of precaution, start and strengthen, common but differentiated responsibility, finance of agreed incremental costs, and binding control measures backed up with trade measures.

The book will be released at a Side Event at the 34th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, Canada, on 31 October 2022.

See Previous Anniversary Books:

5 August 2022 —The China National Energy Administration (NEA) highlighted a number of actions that China will take to promote the development and utilization of coalbed methane. The actions were described in a document posted on the NEA website, available here. These actions are expected to be further incorporated into and implemented through national policies and plans.

Methane plays an increasingly important role in China’s responses to climate change. An LBNL analysis, resulting from a joint LBNL-IGSD project, shows that 438.1 MtCO2e of methane emissions could be reduced annually in 2030 at an average abatement cost of US$22/tCO2e. The lion’s share of methane mitigation potential resides in the coal-mining sector. According to a 2019 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency analysis, China has the potential to reduce 403 Mt CO2e of coal-mine methane emissions by 2030, which represents 69% of the global methane mitigation potential in coal mining.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China set targets for coalbed methane extraction. In particular, the 13th Five-Year Plan for the Development and Utilization of Coalbed Methane (Coal-Mine Gas) (2016) provided that “by 2020, the coalbed methane (coal-mine gas) extraction volume shall reach 24 billion cubic meters, within which the production of on-ground coalbed methane shall reach 10 billion cubic meters with a utilization rate of over 90%; the extraction of coal-mine gas shall reach 14 billion cubic meters with a utilization rate of over 50%.” Further details on the implementation status of the above targets will be provided when China releases the coalbed methane development plan, including related policies and targets, for the current 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

Continue reading here.

Countries must do more beyond CO2 to meet carbon-neutrality goals by mid-century

08 July 2022, Washington, DC— Curtailing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dominates the focus of climate mitigation efforts. However, the latest research has confirmed carbon dioxide mitigation alone has only marginal results in near-term temperature reduction. A new study, co-authored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institutes for Science and Development, and the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, has identified the two most effective mitigation strategies to limit near-term warming beyond CO2:

  • Reducing the other non-CO2 super climate pollutants— hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane, and black carbon; and
  • Promoting targeted nature-based solutions (NbS) that safeguard and enhance irrecoverable carbon sinks, such as intact forests, peatlands, and mangrove forests.

Published on 23 June 2022 in Advances in Climate Change Research, the authors emphasized that while it is critical to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions to stabilize climate in the longer term, more must be done to avoid warming in the critical next twenty to thirty years. This is the only way we have a chance of slowing self-reinforcing climate feedbacks, and avoiding dangerous irreversible climate tipping points.

The study finds fast action to reduce non-CO2 emissions, particularly HFCs, methane, and black carbon, can avoid up to 0.6 °C of warming by 2050, within the timeline for fulfillment of countries’ mid-century carbon neutrality goals. More specifically, quickly reducing emissions of HFCs, methane, and black carbon could avoid 0.1 °C, 0.3 °C, and 0.2 °C of warming respectively by 2050.

Additionally, promoting targeted NbS that safeguard and enhance irrecoverable carbon sinks, such as intact forests, peatlands, and mangrove forests, helps protect the climate benefits derived from greenhouse gas emissions mitigation strategies. Intact forests are particularly important for sequestering carbon in the near term.

“We need to move with lightning speed to win the climate sprint to 2030 by reducing non-CO2 climate pollutants like methane and protecting our carbon sinks. But we also must continue running the marathon to decarbonize and reach net-zero emissions by 2050,” said IGSD President and study co-author, Durwood Zaelke.

The study provides recommends that national and subnational governments adopt policies such as integrating non-CO2 mitigation strategies into national and subnational carbon neutrality policies, and protecting intact forest sinks through promotion of proforestation and moving away from burning forest biomass for energy.

At the international level, the study recommends the deployment of multiple treaty platforms to advance international collaboration on the reduction of non-CO2 emissions and promotion of targeted NbS to protect and enhance natural sinks, including the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its Kigali Amendment, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“This is an emergency. We need to tackle all these strategies at full speed.” Zaelke added.

The paper, Fast action on short-lived climate pollutants and nature-based solutions to help countries meet carbon neutrality goals, is available here.

An English summary of the paper by the authors is here.

A Chinese summary of the paper from Advances in Climate Change Research is here.

30 June 2022—China Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and National Development and Reform Commission jointly released the Implementation Plan for Carbon Peaking in Urban and Rural Development (hereinafter referred to as “the Plan”). The Plan guides China’s measures to peak carbon emissions before 2030, including actions to reduce the emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, including methane.

In general, the Plan lays out the overall targets for achieving urban and rural-development carbon peaking, including:

  • Significantly improving building energy efficiency and increasing waste resource utilization by 2030;
  • Reaching “international advanced levels” of energy efficiency and resource utilization by 2030; and
  • Achieving comprehensive green and low-carbon transition in urban and rural development by 2060.

Continue reading here.

17 June 2022 — Today at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) hosted by President Biden the United States, the European Union, and 11 countries announced the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway to catalyze methane emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector, advancing both climate progress and energy security.

In today’s announcement key energy-producing states agreed to capture the maximum potential of cost-effective methane mitigation in the oil and gas sector, and to eliminate routine flaring as soon as possible, and no later than 2030. Participating countries also committed to support these efforts by providing new technical and financial resources and by enhancing domestic project and policy action.

If countries that currently export natural gas to the European Union were to implement measures to limit flaring, venting, and methane leaks, such as the implementation measures called for by the US and EU today, they could increase gas exports by more than 45 bcm using existing infrastructure, equivalent to almost one-third of Russian gas exports to the EU in 2021. Limiting flaring to emergencies would also lower local air pollution and cut black carbon emissions, which is another contributor to climate change.

“The climate impacts currently hammering the world are a stark reminder of how little time we have left before we lose the battle and climate feedbacks push us past catastrophic tipping points,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD). “The Biden team is pointing world leaders in the right direction by focusing climate policy on 2030, calling for immediate cuts to methane emissions as the best way to slow near-term warming over the next critical 10 to 20-year period. This is the only way to save the planet.”

“Today’s Energy Pathway announcement is a critical step forward to implement the Global Methane Pledge, on the way to turning it into a global methane agreement.”

“Cutting methane and the other super climate pollutants is a complement not a substitute for decarbonization, and both strategies must be accelerated to the maximum extent possible to slow dangerous, irreversible climate changes,” he added.

Today’s announcement included nearly $60 million in dedicated funding to support the implementation of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway.

  • $4 million to support the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR). The US intends to support the transfer by the World Bank of at least $1.5 million in funding to the GGFR. Germany intends to provide $1.5 million and Norway intends to provide approximately $1 million to GGFR.
  • $5.5 million to support the Global Methane Initiative. TheS. will provide $3.5 million. Guided by the recommendations of the GMI, Canada will contribute $2 million over the next four years, as part of its global climate finance commitment, to support methane mitigation projects in developing countries including in the oil and gas sector.
  • Up to $9.5 million from the UNEP International Methane Emissions Observatory to support scientific assessments of methane emissions and mitigation potential in the oil and gas sector that are aligned with the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway.
  • Up to $40 million annually from the philanthropic Global Methane Hub to support methane mitigation in the fossil energy sector.

A parallel report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), The energy security case for tackling gas flaring and methane leaks, released in conjunction with today’s announcement validates the importance of this strategy. The report estimates that nearly 210 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas could be made available to gas markets by a global effort to eliminate non-emergency flaring and reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations. These actions can avoid warming of almost 0.1°C, equivalent to immediately eliminating the greenhouse gas footprint of all cars, trucks, buses, and two- and three-wheelers in the world.

The Global Methane Pledge was first announced at President Biden’s first meeting of the MEF, in September 2021. A joint initiative by the US and EU, the pledge has a goal of at least a 30% reduction of global anthropogenic methane emissions below 2020 levels by 2030. Achieving this target would avoid over 0.2°C of warming by the 2040s and keep the planet on a pathway consistent with staying within 1.5°C, according to the Global Methane Assessment, released in May of 2021 by UNEP and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition, and confirmed by the IPCC 6th Assessment Working Group III report.

Methane pollution has already caused 0.51°C of the 1.0°C of total observed warming (2010–2019) compared to pre-industrial. Cutting methane emissions is the fastest strategy for the world to avoid crashing through the 1.5 °C guardrail. By slowing near-term warming, methane mitigation provides climate-vulnerable communities with more time to adapt while also decreasing communities’ adaptation burdens. To date, 120 countries have now endorsed the Pledge, representing half of global methane emissions and nearly three-quarters of the global economy.

***

The U.S.-EU Joint Press Release on the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway is here.

The White House Fact Sheet President Biden to Galvanize Global Action to Strengthen Energy-Security and Tackle the Climate Crisis through the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate is here.

The IEA Report The energy security case for tackling gas flaring and methane leaks is here.

Selected Writings of Donald W. Kaniaru (1970-2021)

8 June 2022 – In his latest book, career lawyer, diplomat, and negotiator Donald Kaniaru released a collection of published and unpublished papers from his career spanning works from the 1970s to the 2020s. The book, Environmental Law and Diplomacy, offers unique insights into the world’s collective struggle to slow environmental destruction while also pursuing equitable and sustainable development for all.

Environmental Law and Diplomacy is also the story of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the story of international environmental law, and the story of Donald Kaniaru’s home, Kenya, in the era of decolonization.

In his papers, the author describes the birth of UNEP, including Kenya’s involvement in the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, where he helped forge an inclusive alliance to support Nairobi’s selection to host the new UN agency.

It reflects on the past and the potential future of the “brilliantly vague” concept of sustainable development, weighs the guiding principles of environmental law and discusses the opportunities and challenges posed by environmental tribunals, based in part on his experience as Chairman of Kenya’s Environment Tribunal. And among others, the book also touches on how seeds planted in that summer of 1972 sprouted into the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a treaty that has emerged as UNEP’s – and the world’s – most successful environmental treaty.

“Over a career spanning nearly five decades, Donald Kaniaru has earned his reputation as not just as an extraordinary lawyer and a diplomat, but also as a mentor who has left a mark on all those who have had the pleasure of working with him,” said Durwood Zaelke, author of the book’s Foreword. “Donald’s legacy and work have had a tremendous impact across the modern environmental movement. There is still much to be done to avert the worst impacts of climate change and other challenges. This requires fast action under UNEP’s leadership, following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Donald, to ensure that we win both the sprint to 2030 and the marathon to 2050 to keep warming from breaching the 1.5° Celsius safety barrier.”

Environmental Law and Diplomacy is Donald Kaniaru’s first book. Previously he authored several articles and book chapters, co-edited with Durwood Zaelke and Eva Kružíková the two-volume seminal book ‘Making law work- environmental compliance and sustainable development (2005), and edited The Montreal Protocol – Celebrating 20 Years of Environmental Progress – Ozone Layer And Climate Protection (2007). Mr. Kaniaru has received various awards and recognitions for his contributions to the development and advancement in the field of international environmental law, including the Elizabeth Haub Prize for International Law (2009) and the CIEL International Environmental Law Award (2010).