ANAEROBIC DIGESTION is being 'dangerously overlooked' as an immediate solution to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the World Biogas Association, policy makers are neglecting the potential of anaerobic digestion to capture fully 10% of the climate-changing gases currently escaping to the atmosphere worldwide.

Human activity produces no less than 105 billion tonnes of organic wastes every year globally, much of which decomposes in the open air. The WBA argues that by treating more of these wastes through AD, they could be harnessed to produce green fuels and soil conditioners, while keeping all that carbon – whether as carbon dioxide or in the form of methane ­– tied up on the ground. Biogas and biomethane are substitutes for fossil natural gas and can rapidly decarbonise carbon-intensive sectors such as transport and heat.

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"Research from the WBA and other biogas trade bodies and from UNEP, CCAC and the IEA, has demonstrated our industry's potential to deliver a huge reduction in global GHG emissions, especially methane, within the next few years," said WBA chief executive Charlotte Morton. "Crucially, anaerobic digestion, the technology that produces biogas – also known as renewable natural gas or biomethane – as well as a biofertiliser, bioCO2 and other valuable bio-products, is ready to deliver on that potential now. What is badly missing is the political will to remove policy barriers to the growth of the sector – both at global and national levels.

"As the UK prepares to host a particularly critical COP26, and given the widely recognised opportunity to address methane emissions through AD, the British government must show the leadership required in speedily committing to an integrated strategy that will deliver the full potential of AD in the UK by the end of the decade and in ensuring that all other countries follow suit," said Ms Morton.

"Without AD fully deployed, it will simply be impossible to keep below 1.5 degrees by 2030, nor to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Such commitments need to be in each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement – almost all of which are still failing to deliver on the targets set in 2015.

"With its latest report, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change has just issued its starkest warning yet of the danger of climate change and of the need to act urgently," she added. "We are today issuing our own warning to world governments that it is dangerous to overlook the recognised power of AD as an immediate solution. With the right policy framework in place, AD can cut emissions by 10% by 2030. The global biogas industry has already made a public commitment to play its role to deliver on this potential. Now it is down to the world's politicians."