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President’s message: The solution is at our fingertips

Author and journalist Carlo Pizzati interviewed me last month for La Repubblica, one of Italy’s most-read daily national newspapers. I discussed India’s energy policy which unfortunately supports the $55 billion investment in new coal-fired power. India does not need to mine the ground for coal – a finite resource which pollutes the earth. The country has a better option at its fingertips: biowaste.

India has millions of tonnes of biowastes from households, businesses and agriculture that it dumps into the open environment or burns off – polluting the air of its cities, the most polluted on the globe.

Collecting and processing biowaste (which includes producing biogas) means solving issues for both resources and waste… at the same time. India could reap incredible benefits from this:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 15%
  • produce 10-15% of its national energy needs
  • clean up its air quality by stopping burning of crop residues
  • clean up its cities by stopping the dumping of wastes
  • create millions of jobs
  • promote new technologies “Made in India”
  • meet its international commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change

What is India waiting for?

Another piece of unfortunate news: the UK approved a new, small coal mine in Cumbria, a ridiculous and damaging decision in the year in which Britain hosts COP26, the United Nations climate change conference.

In the face of such policy decisions, I ask myself “who benefits?” Clearly the decisions are taken against the public good, against the health of citizens, against the commitments to fight climate change. So somebody, somewhere, must be benefiting to explain why politicians take these awful, harmful and dangerous decisions. Who?

At the same time progress is being made.

I will address our member the Southern African Biogas Industry Association at their AGM on 22nd February. SABIA will present its policy paper showing how biogas can contribute to the country’s climate targets.

WBA will publish our next landmark report, “Biogas: the Roadmap to 2030,” next month. This is to influence the COP26 meeting and to demonstrate how biogas can reduce 12% of the world’s energy-related emissions.

Investments in our sector, including from oil majors, show rapid growth.

In WBA’s February 2021 newsletter you will find lots of reports and information on the world biogas industry, and please feel free to connect with us and send us your reports to publish, too.

David Newman
President, World Biogas Association

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