International climate protection activities

The States flags flutter in the windClick to enlarge
Environmental protection requires international cooperation
Source: Marcel Schauer /

Some countries have already achieved considerable success in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from waste. Germany has taken an important step in this direction by introducing a landfill ban for untreated municipal solid waste (MSW). The UBA is involved in international initiatives with the aim to publicize successful instruments and to implement them in other countries.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Reducing GHG emissions from waste is receiving increasing attention not only in Germany, but elsewhere around the world as well. According to a UBA study, newly industrializing and developing nations could potentially reduce their GHG emissions by up to 16 percent by 2020 if they move away from landfilling towards recycling and the energetical use of residual waste. There are substantial differences regarding the development of waste management sector on the part of industrialized nations as well.
International climate protection and air quality initiatives such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the Global Methane Initiative have recognized the importance of the waste management sector. These initiatives include the waste sector into their reduction efforts, particularly for methane.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is a global partnership between states, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector. The CCAC’s main goal is to reduce, as soon as possible, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon, methane and HFCs, because these elements are a major cause of short term climate change. At the 2012 Rio+20 conference, the CCAC’s Municipal Solid Waste Initiative was founded, whose steering group includes UNEP, the World Bank, the EPA, and Environment Canada amongst other. The UBA is also involved in the initiative.
The aim of the initiative is to help municipalities (particularly those in newly industrializing and developing countries) to reduce waste sector emissions through instruments such as technology transfer, informatione exchange, networking and capacity building.

The Global Methane Initiative

Founded in 2004, the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) aims to reduce methane emissions from livestock farming, coal mining, waste, oil and gas exploration, and wastewater. The initiative, which has 42 members from industrial, newly industrializing and developing nations, mainly focuses on promoting the development of projects that reduce methane emissions.
The UBA represents Germany in the Initiative’s Municipal Solid Waste Subcommittee, which explores possible methane reduction and avoidance instruments such as national action plans, preliminary studies, workshops, modeling and data gathering.

UBA workshop in India

In November 2012, the UBA and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) jointly held a workshop in New Delhi on waste and climate protection. The workshop presenters discussed, with representatives from the Indian government, the country's municipal governments, the private sector and NGOs the current waste management situation in India, future evolutions in this sector and their impact on GHG emissions. The event was part of an ongoing research project.

Waste and Climate