President’s Blog: After COP24 — onwards and upwards

The end of 2018 is coming, and we look back at what has happened this year as well as forward to the New Year and its challenges and opportunities.

Will we keep within 1.5C degrees?

COP24, the global climate change conference in Poland this December, has been an obvious reference point for the year because much of our industry depends upon there being a long-term, achievable and realistic series of goals to reduce GHG emissions. COP24 was a partial disappointment. “The art of the possible” (diplomacy) assured that a result could be announced with some relief, but as one delegate stated, “it is what is possible, not what is necessary.” While we now have the monitoring tools and criteria agreed (which believe me, is important as well as difficult to achieve), we do not have the commitments from countries that are enough to reach the emissions cuts targets and keep the Planet within 1.5C degrees warming by 2100. We are indeed heading for a 3.3C degrees warming. The IPCC report in September showed we have just about one decade in which to achieve the emissions cuts — with time running out, the discussions in Poland were almost surreal.


Nevertheless, the momentum towards cleaner energy is irreversible. Adoption of renewables is growing very rapidly, and this includes biogas to produce renewable heat and power. Wherever we visit around the world, biogas is on the radar of every administration, government and city. The growing concern over untreated wastes leaching into the environment (highlighted by the World Bank’s Solid Waste Management Report) and the solutions biogas can offer for the biodegradable fractions (highlighted by WBA’s report co-written with C40 Climate Cities Group) show we are on the right track. The new Resources and Waste Strategy published by the UK government this December, the new Waste Framework Directive approved in Europe in July – these and other policies point towards rapidly increasing volumes of food waste to treat.

Where next for WBA?

Over the next two years countries need to commit to supporting biogas infrastructure across waste, agriculture, sanitation, energy and transport in order to meet their respective nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. To make this happen, WBA will be evermore active in 2019. We will be putting out more campaigns, events, meetings and reports to ensure these messages are transmitted loud and clear. And of course, we are grateful to all our members who renewed their annual membership — your support is essential for this global association to thrive.

Join us. We look forward to your participation and to meeting you in 2019.

David Newman, President
World Biogas Association