Global environmental NGO Delterra, founded by McKinsey & Company, is today calling on world leaders gathered in Egypt for COP27 to take real action tackling methane emissions from waste to keep within a 1.5°C target.
WASHINGTON, November 17, 2022 – Global environmental NGO Delterra, founded by McKinsey & Company, is today calling on world leaders gathered in Egypt for COP27 to take real action tackling methane emissions from waste to keep within a 1.5°C target.
Delterra’s new report, The Big Methane-Cutting Opportunity, shows that practical actions can be implemented to divert organics (such as food waste) from landfills and avoid these methane emissions that are 80x more potent than CO2 in the short-term.
With organics accounting for up to 80% of waste in some regions in the Global South, taking action to separate and treat this material is not just a climate opportunity – it also reduces landfill volumes, makes other materials more recyclable and crates new economic markets.
Based on their experience transforming entire waste and recycling systems for regions in Indonesia and Argentina, Delterra’s report focuses on four actions that could greatly spur the expansion of better organic waste management to reduce emissions:
- Foster use of organic waste treatment products
- Close the profitability gap
- Make organic waste treatment the cheaper option
- Improve the efficiency of treatment facilities
It is one year since global leaders came together at COP26 to commit to reducing methane emissions. There are now 130 countries that have signed the Global Methane Pledge and who have committed to “rapidly reducing methane emissions from energy, agriculture, and waste” as “the single most effective strategy to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5˚C within reach.”
So far, there is little sign of progress, with some indicators that methane emission levels have increased in the last year. Delterra is urging global leaders to take immediate action with proven interventions highlighted in this report – such as separating and treating organics as a different stream from other waste.
After the agricultural and energy sectors, the waste sector is the third highest emitter of methane, responsible for 14-20% of global human-caused methane emissions. Too little attention or action is coming out of these summits about how improving waste management can help with the climate crisis.
Delterra’s Director of Partnerships, Jeremy Douglas, says, “There are significant untapped climate actions in kitchens and gardens all over the world. Delterra has shown that it is possible to change behavior to separate organic waste, divert it from landfills and treat it in a way that avoids methane emissions. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to reduce these potent greenhouse gas emissions, and something every city and country should be doing.”
Governments, NGOs, and philanthropic funders can work together to create a more attractive business case for organic waste treatment. Delterra has had great successes separating organics from landfills through their projects in Argentina to Indonesia. Their approach can be implemented quickly and does not require new developments in science or technology. Now it is time to scale those successes.
Delterra’s new paper, The Big Methane-Cutting Opportunity, explains how we can learn from their approach and implement these measures and rapidly reduce methane emissions. You can read the full paper here.