The climate change phenomenon, its causes and consequences, is now generally accepted and recognised by the international scientific community, governments, the private sector, NGOs and the general population.
It requires a robust response. Solutions must be found that will mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases and help to adapt to its unavoidable consequences. The complexity of the issue requires the acceptance of a common responsibility from both the public and private sector.
The waste industry occupies a unique position as a potential reducer of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As industries and countries worldwide struggle to address their carbon footprint, waste sector activities represent an opportunity for carbon reduction which has yet to be fully exploited.
The waste sector offers a portfolio of proven, practical and cost effective technologies which can contribute to GHG mitigation. When adapted and deployed according to local traditions and needs, they can help secure significant global GHG emission savings.
The transfer of sustainable technology to developing countries is crucial to reducing GHG emissions. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), introduced under the Kyoto protocol, has provided an opportunity for the waste sector to make significant advances towards this goal. However, structural and administrative improvements to the CDM registration process are needed.
Waste policies and regulations can be strong national drivers to reduce GHG emissions.
However, accurate measurement and quantification of GHG emissions is vital in order to set and monitor realistic reduction targets at all levels. Current methodologies form a valuable database for assessment of GHG emissions from waste activities, however, improvements are required to adequately represent the full life-cycle of materials and energy.
Read More ISWA: Waste and Climate Change White Paper.