Experts to draft white paper on methane management

Methane is the second leading cause of climate change after carbon dioxide


A white paper on capturing methane, particularly coal bed methane, would soon be drafted and submitted to the government for it to take policy measures as potential of methane to warm environment is 84 times more than that of carbon dioxide.

The white paper would also incorporate findings of the experts that investing in methane capture mining companies can increase revenues by 30 per cent.

Methane is the second leading cause of climate change after carbon dioxide.

The white paper shall be drafted on the basis of deliberation during day-long workshop Sustainable Mining & Methane Management' jointly organised last week by International Centre for Climate and Sustainability Action Foundation (ICSSA), Society for Clean Environment (SOCLEEN) and the Maharashtra government.

It will be submitted to Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Maharashtra, and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

During the workshop, climate scientists suggested to state governments to incentivise and urge coal mining companies on methane handling, considering that methane's potential to warm environment is 84 times more than that of carbon-di-oxide (CO2).

Experts also suggested that somebody should be made accountable to capture methane from abandoned coal mines that continue to emit methane in environment, which has not been addressed as yet.

In his special address at the workshop, Vijay S Nahata, Chairman SEIAA suggested using modern tools in mining to reduce environmental and climate impact.

"India is committed to Net-Zero by 2070, and we will continue to cooperate and work with industries and other stakeholders for the betterment of our environment," he added.

Rakesh Kumar from Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) suggested that mining companies should also be made aware of the revenue potential that methane capture can have.

By increasing their operational spending by 10 per cent towards methane capturing, the mining industries can create a separate revenue stream that can give them three times the returns on the investment, he said.

While mining companies shall be able to increase their revenues in the short term, allied benefits relating to the environment and health of people residing in areas closer to mining, will take some time to show.

Growth in coal production is directly proportional to the release of methane from mining activities.

Professor A D Sawant, President SOCLEEN suggested that having government policy towards climate change is definitely the first step in the right direction, but the know-how should also be shared with mining officials who are there at the site.

Professor C K Varshney, Professor and Advisor ICCSA said utilisation of coal mine methane has the potential to benefit India by reducing emissions and increasing domestic energy security.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas, which is responsible for Earth's warming. Methane (CH4) concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled since pre-industrial times.

India is sitting on a huge opportunity to convert waste into energy. As per a calculation, 15 large states in the country are generating over 1.38 lakh tonne of waste every day, and if globally available advanced technologies can be deployed to generate energy through the trash, then a 5600 MW capacity waste-to-energy plant can be set up, experts said.

Even at 50 per cent utilisation, India will have about 2800 MW of electricity generated through garbage, Professor Bhaskar Kura, founder of i2Care, said during the workshop.

The workshop was attended by experts including Professor C K Varshney, former Dean at Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Sarala Balachandran, Chief Scientist at CSIR; Ajit Kumar Saxena, Chairman cum Managing Director MOIL; R K Vij Professor PDEU, Gandhinagar; Kaushik Chakraborty, former ED at Western Coalfield Ltd, and Priyank Singhvi, co-founder ICCSA.