Reducing methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective options for limiting the impact of the energy sector on climate. However, it is impossible to design and implement effective methane policies without access to detailed and reliable data on the scale and sources of the emissions. There is an immediate need for national emissions monitoring and reporting schemes that are effective and based on comparable methodologies.
Action to reduce CH4 emissions requires a good understanding of emission sources at national, subnational and local levels. In most developed economies with an active coal mining sector, emissions from coal mines are included in domestic inventories. The latter quantify emissions that occur during mining, as well as from post-mining activities of processing, storage and transportation, and thus play an essential role in determining the scale of emissions, planning mitigation policies, and implementing effective actions. Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) programmes at local level help governments to better understand the local coal mining industry’s contribution to the methane and other GHG emissions, and to identify the most promising mitigation opportunities.
Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification
The three elements of MRV are often differentiated, but each element is complementary to and dependent on the other two. Monitoring includes the measurement of emissions data. An effective Reporting system facilitates accurate and expeditious reporting and distillation of the data into formats that can be understood by reporting facilities and users of the data. The reporting system allows stakeholders, including the emitting facilities, to track changes in emissions and emission reductions over time. Verification is the final and necessary step to ensure the veracity of reported data as well as its consistency and compliance with reporting requirements. It is particularly important to provide decisionmakers with the confidence to formulate policies based on the data and, especially, to facilitate public acceptance of the data. Verification can take many forms but generally entails review and confirmation of the data by the party receiving the data, e.g. by a government agency, or by an independent third party
The link between MRV and mitigation is especially important. Policies have been introduced in some countries to encourage investment in coal mine methane (CMM), surface mine methane (SMM), and abandoned mine methane (AMM) mitigation projects but, in many instances, because they have not been informed by robust data, they have not been sufficiently effective to achieve the necessary degree of mitigation.
Ultimately, the design of the programme depends on the many predetermined countryspecific factors, such as the governance system, policy objectives, capacity of government agencies and, importantly, budgets. Ideally, the MRV system should be robust enough to provide reliable data to foster utilisation of methane and realise emission reductions from the coal sector.
Best Practice Guidance
In this context, UNECE in partnership with the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) developed the Best Practice Guidance for Effective Management of Coal Mine Methane at National Level: Monitoring, Reporting, Verification and MitigationBest Practice Guidance for Effective Management of Coal Mine Methane at National Level: Monitoring, Reporting, Verification and Mitigation, which aims to assist member States with designing national systems to quantify and report methane emissions from coal mines.
For additional case studies that complement the publication, providing examples of MRV methods and technologies utilized to monitor methane emissions from coal mines around the world please see a table below.
- Case Studies
The use of high-resolution satellite imagery to identify methane emissions from underground mines: A CMM case study of a mine within the Karaganda Coal Basin
by Mr. Ángel E. Esparza, GHGSat, Inc.
Accordion content 2.