Mitigating methane emissions : from science to innovative solutions

A contribution to COP21

  November 9, 2015
  Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC), Paris, France
  Climate Change

In preparation of COP21, the Veolia Institute organized, in association with the Agence Française de Développement and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, an international Conference on innovative solutions to reduce methane emissions. To complement this Conference, two side-events were held at Paris - Le Bourget during COP 21. The objective? To raise awareness about the importance of an action on methane for the climate.

Methane, the other “knob” to reduce greenhouse gases.

Methane is the second largest greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. It has a short lifetime in the atmosphere, leading to a Global Warming Potential (GWP) which varies considerably depending on the selected time scale. Taking better account of this gas would constitute a good lever to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in North and South alike.

Methane is a short-lived pollutant: 12 years 


32 % of global greenhouse gas emissions 

Methane GWP* = 84 x CO2 GWP over a 20-year horizon

* Global Warming Potential

A contribution to COP21
By bringing together leading experts, the Veolia Institute and its partners wanted to contribute to COP21 with a less considered issue than CO2 emissions. Without minimizing the need to reduce CO2, this international Conference and the two side-events organized at Le Bourget – Paris (side-event n°1 for decision makers and climate negotiators and side-event n°2 for civil society) showed that practical solutions can be implemented in the short term, to fight against climate change. 

"The conference had the institutional support of the French government illustrated by the official "COP21" label".

Science as a support for concrete actions

Renowned scientists and innovative practitioners have exchanged scientific knowledge, explored available mitigation options in the major emitting sectors—agriculture, oil and gas and waste—and discussed economic and financial mechanisms that would facilitate the development of these solutions for meeting the climate challenge. Case studies from the North and the South have illustrated those solutions.


"This comprehensive approach has given the floor to concrete actions and conditions for their scaling-up".


Jean BOGNER, Research professor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Jean Bogner is a research professor emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences (EAES). Previously she worked more than 20 years at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), beginning in the mid-1970’s with the 1st commercial landfill gas (LFG) recovery & utilization projects for the U.S. Dept. of Energy, as well as other basic & applied waste research (mining, domestic, hazardous, radioactive). Subsequent U.S. and international projects at ANL, her consultancy Landfills +, Inc. (1997-2013), and UIC have focused on field & laboratory investigations of landfill CH4 generation, transport, & emissions, as well as modeling & mitigation of emissions.

Recent research has focused on the development and international field validation of a new science-based GHG inventory model (CALMIM) for landfill CH4 emissions at any site worldwide inclusive of climate-driven CH4 transport & oxidation. Her publications include several dozen journal articles, book contributions, and refereed reports.
In 2007 she was the coordinating lead author for the “Waste Management” chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report for Working Group III [Mitigation of Climate Change], for which she shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize given to IPCC. Other honors include the University of Illinois Distinguished Alumni Award (2009), Lawrence Lecturer (2008) for the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), and the Argonne Exceptional Achievement Award (1992). She has worked extensively with U.S. and international PhD students and international committees affiliated with IGAC-IGBP and the IEA. She holds BA, MS, and PhD degrees in geoscience with emphasis on hydrogeology and soil gases.

Jean-Paul DELEVOYE, President, Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC)

Jean-Paul Delevoye was born on January 22, 1947. Former director of food companies, he was elected alderman of the town of Bapaume les Avesnes in 1974.
General Counsel of (the) Pas-de-Calais from 1980 to 2001, Jean-Paul Delevoye was also Mayor of Bapaume from 1982 to 2014 and Chairman of the Community of Municipalities of Bapaume from 1992 to 2014.
Deputy of (the) Pas-de-Calais from 1986 to 1988, he was in 1986 Steering Committee member of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF), and Chairman of the Finance Committee. He was also Chairman of the AMF from 1992 to 2002.
Senator of Pas-de-Calais from 1992 to 2002, chairman of the Senator-mayor’s group at the Senate, he led the report "Social Cohesion and Territory" for the Planning Commission in 1999. He chaired the Senate information mission which assessed the process of decentralization and to proposed improvements to facilitate the exercise of local powers in 1999-2000. He also led the Department of Justice task force mandated to work on the criminal responsibility of policy makers. In 1998, he took part in the study "For a comprehensive approach to the time of the child: the testing of school timetables."
Minister of Civil Service, State Reform and Regional Planning from 2002 to 2004, he has initiated the reform of (the) ENA and the retirement of civil servants. He was appointed Ombudsman by the President of the Republic in April 2004, a position he held until March 31, 2011.
Jean-Paul Delevoye was elected President of the Economic Social and Environmental Council on November 16, 2010.

Benjamin DESSUS, President, Global Change

Benjamin Dessus is a telecommunications engineer with a PhD in economics. He began his career as a physicist at the Laboratories de Marcoussis research center, subsequently joining EDF’s Research and Development department, where he focused on the construction of the Themis solar power tower. He then became Director of research and technical activities at ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, before taking charge of the Ecodev program “Technologies for Sustainable Development” at the CNRS, and currently chairs the NPO Global Chance. He was a member of the first scientific committee of the Global Environment Facility and, for 8 years, president of the Scientific Committee of its French counterpart, the FFEM (Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial).
Benjamin Dessus has written many books and articles on energy and on the fight against global warming. He also co-authored—with Jean-Michel Charpin, France’s Commissioner for Planning, and René Pellat, High Commissioner for Atomic Energy—a report entitled “Etude économique prospective de la filière électrique nucléaire” (Economic forecast study of the nuclear power option) which was submitted to the prime minister in July 2001.

  • Peut-on sauver notre planète sans changer nos modes de vie ? B. Dessus, S. David, Editions Prométhée 2010
  • En finir avec le nucléaire : pourquoi et comment, B. Dessus, B. Laponche, Editions du Seuil, Oct 2011
  • Déchiffrer l’énergie, Ed. Belin 2014
  • Reducing Methane Emissions: The Other Climate Change Challenge, B. Dessus B. Laponche, Working paper AFD 2008 DT 68
  • Les gaz de schiste : enjeux et questions pour le développement, Benjamin Dessus (Global Chance) Working paper AFD 2014 DT 142

Antoine FREROT, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Veolia

Born on June 3, 1958 in Fontainebleau (France), Antoine Frérot is a graduate of the École Polytechnique (class of 1977), an engineer of the Corps des Ponts et Chaussées, and holds a doctorate from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. Mr. Frérot started his career in 1981 as an engineering researcher at the Central Research Office for French Overseas Departments and Territories.

In 1983, he joined the Center for Study and Research of the École Nationale des Ponts and Chaussées as project manager and served as assistant director from 1984 to 1988. From 1988 to 1990, he was in charge of financial operations at Crédit National.

In 1990, Mr. Frérot joined Compagnie Générale des Eaux as an official representative and, in 1995, became Chief Executive Officer of CGEA Transport.

In 2000, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of CONNEX, the Transport Division of Vivendi Environnement, and member of the Vivendi Environnement board. In January 2003, Mr. Frérot was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Eau, the Water Division of Veolia Environnement, and Senior Executive Vice President of Veolia Environnement. In November 2009, he became Chief Executive Officer, and in December 2010, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Environnement.

Josep FERNANDEZ, Technical Director, Veolia Latin America and Iberia

2007: Global Executive MBA, IESE Business School (Barcelona).
1981: Civil Engineer, Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Barcelona).
2011-now: Technical Director Veolia LatAm & Iberia, subsidiary of Veolia, a worldwide leading environmental company in water & wastewater, waste activities and energy.
2008-2011: CEO and member of the Executive Committee of Interagua, municipal water & wastewater concession of Guayaquil (Ecuador). 2.400.000 hab.
2003-2008: Director for LatAm Water Division of group Proactiva (50% Veolia / 50% FCC).
2000-2003: CEO of the contract for the maintenance of the water networks in Caracas (Venezuela).
1997-2000: CEO of “Aguas de Monagas” (Maturin, Venezuela). Private management contract of a public Venezuelan water company. Pilot project of the World Bank.
1994-1997: CEO of “Aigües de Lleida” (Lleida, Spain). Municipal water & wastewater concession, subsidiary of the Spanish company FCC.
1982-199: Senior technician, qualified civil servant, Lleida (Spain) town hall. Manager of the water & wastewater municipal services.
1985-1993: Environmental Consultant Engineer.
1988-1990: University professor. Agronomical Engineering University Lleida.
1991-1994: Founder of Business Management courses ESADE in Lleida.

Gaël GIRAUD, Chief Economist, Agence Française de Développement

Gaël Giraud is the Chief Economist of the Agence Française de Développement. His research at CNRS, where he is senior fellow researcher, deals with alternative measures of development, general equilibrium theory, game theory, finance and energy issues. Within the CODEV research programme, he ran several surveys (Nigeria, Indonesia, India…) devoted to the building of an index measuring the quality of the social bond, viewed as an indicator of the quality of development.
He is the coordinator of the Research team “Riskergy” on Energy resilience and sovereign debt, as well as a member of the Scientific Committee of the “Laboratoire d'Excellence” devoted to financial regulation (LabEx ReFi). He was member of the Expert Committee on the National Debate about the Energy Shift for the French government. He holds the chair “Energy and prosperity” supported by Louis Bachelier’s Institute. He is also a member of the European NGO Finance Watch and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation.
Gaël Giraud Is Jesuit. A former fellow of Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, of ENSAE (Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique) and of CORE (Center of Operations Research, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium), he earned his Ph.D. at the Laboratoire d’Econométrie de l’Ecole Polytechnique in 1998. In 2009, he was nominated as Best French young economist by Le Monde/Le Cercle des économistes.

Pierre Marc JOHNSON, Former Premier of Quebec, chief negotiator for the Government of Quebec in CETA

Pierre Marc Johnson former Premier of Quebec, chief negotiator for the Government of Quebec in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union (CETA)
A former Premier of Quebec, Pierre Marc Johnson, a lawyer and physician, is recognized for his expertise in international trade negotiations and international partnerships as well as environmental law, health law, and public policy. Since 2009, he has acted as chief negotiator for the Government of Quebec in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union (CETA) as well as in the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States.
Mr. Johnson has been a lead counsel and strategic advisor to international partnerships during trade negotiations with respect to investments, new information technologies, biomedicals, entertainment, and financial products. He has extensive experience in international negotiations with the United Nations on environment and development issues. He has advised the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), an international organization created by Canada, Mexico and the United States under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). In 2003, he chaired a similar effort for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Co-author of The Environment and NAFTA — Understanding and Implementing the New Continental Law, published by Island Press, and of Beyond Trade: The Case for a Broadened International Governance Agenda, he has also penned numerous essays and articles on international trade, globalization and the environment. His expertise and experience enable him to act as counsel for both domestic and foreign governments and institutions, to take part in the proceedings of advisory committees and to speak on the phenomenon and impact of globalization.
He has served as a director or member of the advisory committees of about 20 major corporations. He currently serves on the board of directors of corporations that are active in the biopharmaceutical, motion picture production and mining industries.
Mr. Johnson holds an honorary doctorate from Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, France. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Grand Croix of the Ordre de la Pléiade recipient and Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. He has also been recognized as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of International Arbitration in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada (Woodward/White).

Drew NELSON, Representative for the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, Environmental Defense Fund

As Senior Manager, Natural Gas for EDF's US Climate and Energy Program, Drew is focused on better understanding the amount of methane leaked as a result of natural gas production, distribution, and use.
Prior to joining EDF, Drew worked for the U.S. Department of State on the international climate negotiations. At the State Department, Drew was the lead negotiator on a variety of issues, including deploying clean technologies, reducing emissions from international aviation, and developing international sustainability criteria for biofuels.
Drew also worked at the EPA in the Office of Air and Radiation.
Drew has a joint masters in Policy and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, with a concentration in environmental policy

Carolyn OPIO, Livestock Policy Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Ms. Carolyn Opio is Livestock Policy Officer with the Animal Production and Health Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
She is attached to the Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch within the Animal and Health Division. Her work has focused on analysis of trends within the livestock sector and the impacts of ongoing global trends on the sector; the role of livestock in nutrition, the assessment of the livestock and environment interactions such as climate change particularly focusing on the sector’s contribution to GHG emissions.

Over the past years, Ms. Opio has also been directly involved in key global analyses and writing of three major publications on the livestock sector: “Livestock's long shadow - Environmental issues and options” (2006); “State of Food and Agriculture 2009: Livestock in the balance”, and “Livestock in a changing landscape: drivers, consequences and responses” (2010) and more recently “Tackling climate change through livestock: a global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities.”
Ms. Opio currently leads the implementation of a project funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition on Enteric Methane and is involved in the implementation of the Livestock and Manure Management project.
She is also coordinator of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership hosted by FAO and lead by livestock stakeholders.

John PARKIN, Deputy Head Plant & Engineering in the Cleansing & Solid Waste Department (DSW) of eThekwini Municipality

John has a BScEng (Civil) and a MScEng both from the University of Kwa Zulu Natal
He is a registered Professional Engineer.
John started his career with Consultants, after a short stint he moved to the then Durban Corporation in 1979 and has worked in various sections, Structures, Construction, Housing and finally moved to the Sanitation Branch in 1988. Which has since had several name changes.
John has 27 years experience in the Waste Management Industry. His specific areas of competence are Landfill, Transfer Stations, Fleet Management, Research and more recently CDM, landfill gas extraction and waste treatment technologies.
He currently holds the position of Deputy Head : Plant & Engineering in the Cleansing & Solid Waste Department (DSW) of eThekwini Municipality.

Dr RAMANATHAN, Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Dr. Ramanathan discovered the greenhouse effect of Choloro-fluoro-carbons in 1975. He predicted in 1980 that global warming would be detected by 2000. He led the Indian-Ocean-experiment that discovered the widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds and the large warming effect of black carbon. He has made fundamental work on the atmospheric greenhouse effects of CO2, water vapor, methane, ozone and HFCs as well as on the feedback effects involving sea ice, tropical clouds, and storm tracks. Using such empirical observations, he showed that mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants will slow down global warming by as much as 50% during the next few decades. In response, the United Nations has formed the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. He is now focusing on the plight of the bottom 3 billion people who will suffer the worst consequences of climate change and developed a new approach called as The Two Worlds Approach to provide clean/renewable energy access to the bottom 3 billion. One example is Project Surya which is mitigating black carbon and other climate warming emissions from solid biomass cooking in India.
He is now serving in Pope Francis’ Council for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Through numerous meetings and summits he helped organize on behalf of Pope Francis at Vatican, an Alliance between Science, religion and policy is emerging with a potential for a transformative effect on the global efforts to slow down climate change.
He was honored as the 2013 Champion of Earth for Science and Innovation by the United Nations and named as the 2014 Global Thinker by the US Foreign Policy. He has been elected to the National Academy of Science, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical society and has won numerous other honors.

Thomas STOCKER, Professor of Climate and Environmental Physics at the Physics Institute, University of Bern

Thomas Stocker was born in Zürich and obtained a PhD in Natural Sciences of ETH Zürich in 1987. He held research positions at University College London, McGill University (Montreal), Columbia University (New York) and University of Hawai'i (Honolulu). Since 1993 he is Professor of Climate and Environmental Physics at the University of Bern.
His research encompasses the development of climate models of intermediate complexity, modelling past and future climate change, in particular abrupt climate change and its effects on the ocean, and the reconstruction of greenhouse gas concentrations based on ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. This has resulted in the definitive CO2 and CH4 records of the past 800,000 years, still a world record.
Thomas Stocker has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers in the area of climate dynamics and paleoclimate modeling and reconstruction. After more than 10 years of service in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was elected Co-Chair of Working Group I of the IPCC in 2008. The comprehensive assessment report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis was approved by the governments on September 27, 2013. Thomas Stocker was awarded a Dr. Honoris Causa of the University of Versailles (France) in 2006 and the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2009. In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and he is a Foreign Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Reiner WASSMANN, expert in climate change IRRI/CGIAR

Reiner Wassman is climate change expert at IRRI in charge of coordinating IRRI’s research program on rice and climate change, heading the Climate Unit and acting as IRRI contact person for CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security). Reiner is closely interacting with a range of actors involved in mitigation and adaptation in Southeast Asia, namely international organizations such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, policy makers at different levels, development agencies etc. His areas of expertise are various: greenhouse gas emissions; carbon and nitrogen cycling; climate change impact assessment; adaptation to climate-induced stresses; and soil and water management.
In 2010, Reiner was an integrated Expert at IRRI (funded by GTZ, Center for International Migration and Development). Previously, from 1991 to 2009 he was placed on extended secondments as Internationally Recruited Scientist to IRRI (ca. 12 years in total). From 1987 to 2009, he was a scientific staff member at Fraunhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environmental Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (at outpost Garmisch-Partenkirchen).
During his career Reiner has been distinguished for the quality of its expertise. Since 2005, he is member of the Editorial Board of Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. He was also one of the co-authors of the revised IPCC Guidelines (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), "National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Guidelines: Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use" (2004-2006) published in 2007; recognition after IPCC Nobel Prize awarding.

Jean-Alexandre BARIL, Journalist, Editor-in-chief and Anchorman at iTELE

Tanguy DE BIENASSIS, Financial analyst in the Climate and Carbon Finance Unit, World Bank

Tanguy de Bienassis is a financial analyst in the Climate and Carbon Finance Unit at the World Bank in Washington, DC. His work focuses on innovative climate finance initiatives such as the Pilot Auction Facility for Methane and Climate change mitigation and the Carbon Initiative for development.

Prior to joining the World Bank Group in 2012, Tanguy de Bienassis worked in investment banking and strategy consulting. He holds a degree from ESSEC Business School in Paris.

Helena MOLIN VALDES, Head of the Secretariat, Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC)

An experienced leader within the UN system, Helena is since 2013 heading up the Secretariat for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), hosted by the United Nations Environment Program in Paris. She is a former senior executive with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and a long-time proponent of sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaption, and disaster risk reduction.

She was instrumental in making the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) an important force in global disaster risk management and launched the global Resilient Cities campaign in 2012. Helena has co-authored many papers, handbooks, global reviews and reports on local development, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and resilience.

She worked early in her professional life on improved bricks production from traditional kilns in Central America, and improved cook-stoves to reduce indoor air pollution and increase energy efficiency through a Swedish NGO in collaboration with research centres. She holds a Master degree in architecture with thesis on development planning and implementation from Lund University, Sweden.