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Spotlight On: Methane


As the destructive effects of a warming climate increase, the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions becomes ever more critical. One GHG in particular presents a key opportunity to reduce the amount of warming the Earth will experience over the next two decades—methane.

Methane is a powerful and short-lived GHG, over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over 20 years. Methane is responsible for 30 percent of the current rise in global temperatures and its atmospheric concentrations in 2019 were the highest of any year in the past 800,000 years. Its disproportionate impact means reducing methane emissions can help countries achieve climate mitigation benefits quickly while also buying time to implement strategies to reduce longer-lived GHGs.

Reflecting this growing understanding, the Global Methane Pledgelaunched at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)—represents the single largest methane reduction initiative in history and aims to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030, from 2020 levels. More than 100 countries have signed on to the Pledge articulating their commitments to methane reduction across key contributing sectors including agriculture (manure management and enteric fermentation), waste (landfills, wastewater treatment facilities), and energy (oil & gas operations, leaking pipelines, and abandoned coal mines). 

Mobilizing finance, ensuring policy cohesion, equipping project developers with best practices for financial and technical feasibility, and ensuring transparency and rigor in the accounting and reporting of methane emissionsthese are all critical building blocks to making the Global Methane Pledge deliver real results. Abt Global has been at the forefront of supporting such efforts to address methane pollution globally. We are ready to deploy our deep technical resources, broad set of partners, and proven tools to enable coordinated and meaningful action on methane at all needed scales, from the national to project level.



Abt has more than two decades of experience supporting flagship programs targeting methane mitigation in the U.S. and around the world. From building foundational resources for the U.S. EPA on behalf of the Global Methane Initiative (originally the Methane to Markets program) since 2005, to providing strategic support to EPA’s complementary efforts under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) since 2013, to strengthening key sector programs such as EPA's Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (CMOP) and AgSTAR programs, Abt provides technical assistance to stakeholders focused on advancing methane mitigation and capture strategies across all methane-generating sectors: agriculture, municipal solid waste (MSW), wastewater, coal, and oil and gas. We prepare market and technology needs assessments, conduct technical trainings, and develop tools to support project screening and decision making. Our expertise includes:

  • Technical feasibility assessments
  • Financial analyses and methane finance mobilization
  • Measurement, reporting, verification (MRV)
  • Capacity building, tool development, training, and workshopping
  • Strategic communications and planning
  • Governance, regulatory and policy support
  • Sector-wide opportunity assessment
  • Health and economic co-benefit quantification
  • Geospatial and sensor analytics and dashboarding


Featured Capabilities

Global Methane Pledge Fundamentals: Measurement, Reporting and Verification and Implementation Tools

MRV Abt has unrivaled knowledge of methane measurement, verification, and reporting (MRV), critical to making the Global Methane Pledge a reality. From emissions inventories to predictive modeling and geospatial analytics, our user-friendly online informatics accelerate on-the-ground GMP action.

On EPA's behalf, Abt has produced digital tools and resources that have helped project developers, governments, and implementers design methane mitigation strategies and bring projects on-line that yield financial, environmental, and public health benefits. Key to this is assessing the feasibility and benefits of potential projects and technologies, such as food waste digesters that produce valuable biogas. Tools and resources we have developed with EPA for the Global Methane Initiative and Climate and Clean Air Coalition have been used by dozens of countries and hundreds of projects worldwide. These include:

The SWEET tool has been used by more than 50 cities–from Delhi, India, to Novi Sad, Serbia—to estimate waste sector methane emissions and plan mitigation strategies. In India, Abt assisted EPA in conducting a feasibility assessment on the use of biogas to power cooling systems in rural regions of Maharashtra. We used both Anaerobic Digest Screening Tool and OrganEcs for AD to estimate the biogas production potential and financial feasibility of anaerobic digestion projects to supply biogas to cold storage systems.

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: In 2018, in Novi Sad, Serbia, facing an objective to address short-lived climate pollutants from municipal solid waste, EPA enlisted Abt to help assess opportunities to divert organic waste from the landfill and process the waste for beneficial use. Abt used OrganEcs to estimate the economics of composting or anaerobic digestion and used SWEET to estimate the GHG emissions reductions of these management options. In 2020, the City of Novi Sad developed and opened the first municipal composting plant in Serbia after building on these pre-feasibility studies and using the results to secure funding. Novi Sad is now expanding the facility further and a new pre-feasibility assessment for the expanded composting plant demonstrated an 18.5% reduction in total GHG emissions reductions compared to current operations. The City of Novi Sad currently utilizes the finished compost for public green spaces – substituting for purchased soil.

Strategic Communications and Engagement Support

Abt’s experienced communications experts use proven advertising and marketing methods that drive clarity and boost engagement. Abt has been a close thought-partner for EPA's GMI team, helping to develop an overarching Communications Strategy that included recommendations for improving GMI’s messaging, products, and optimizing communications channels. In preparation for the 2022 Global Methane Forum, Abt helped EPA develop a digital outreach strategy, and crafted targeted messages and graphics for social media.

Abt has developed strategic communication and stakeholder engagement plans for many other key initiatives, such as GMI, the CCAC Waste Hub and EPA's Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (CMOP). CMOP communicates directly with coal mine operators and owners, project developers, equipment vendors, and other industry leaders through webinars, stakeholder inquiries, and a large listserv. Our recent website optimization effort increased CMOP site engagement by 84% since 2019.

Fostering Collaborations to Enhance National and Regional Capacity

The urgency of addressing climate change requires dissemination of knowledge, proven approaches, and best practices to drive coordinated and effective action. Abt has facilitated coordination across dozens of countries to reduce methane emissions through knowledge sharing and capacity building, with the goal of institutionalizing collaboratives for continuous progress.

For example, Abt worked with EPA to support the creation of the Center of Excellence for Circular Economy and Climate Change in Serbia, providing technical and strategic advice for waste management and circular economy practices to mitigate GHG emissions. The center of excellence model was then replicated by partners in Latin America. These two entities now collaborate as part of a growing network of centers focused on strengthening circular economy strategies.

Quantifying and Monetizing Health and Economic Co-benefits

Action now on methane mitigation delivers significant co-benefits, drastically strengthening the value proposition of urgent action. Methane mitigation improves energy and food security and delivers real health and poverty alleviation benefits – and Abt has developed tools and methodological approaches to not only quantify co-benefits but also monetize them for streamlined integration into financial and economic considerations.

For example, Abt developed EPA's CO–Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) tool, a robust screening model that helps state and local governments estimate the economic value of reductions in air pollution s through methane mitigation, and associated public health benefits. The tool converts emissions reductions into air quality improvements and estimates adverse health impacts avoided, from asthma exacerbations and workdays lost to heart attacks and deaths. COBRA then is able to monetize the benefits of avoided adverse health effects, arming stakeholders with data to improve decision making at the county, state, and national level.

Regulatory and Policy Support and Sector-Wide Opportunity Assessments

Policy cohesion and effective regulation are foundational to facilitating the scale of action required to meet the objectives of the Global Methane Pledge. Abt has supported rulemaking processes in the U.S. related to reducing waste and improving efficiency of natural gas extracted on public lands for the Bureau of Land Management and on pipeline safety for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Abt has also developed foundational resources for policymakers to deliver actionable guidance for informed decision-making. This has included improving GHG inventory estimates from the oil and gas sector for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, as well as developing guidance materials, such as GMI's Policymaker’s Handbook for Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in the Biogas Sector. GMI's Biogas MRV handbook puts forth guiding principles for conducting MRV for emissions and emissions reductions for biogas sector projects. It helps national governments to:

  • Develop robust greenhouse gas emissions inventories,
  • Enhance targets, policies, and actions in the context of nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement,
  • Show progress toward sustainable development goals, and
  • Boost access to external funding sources to promote economic growth.

Limited resources and a compressed time horizon for action requires an optimization of efforts to focus on opportunities most ripe for methane solutions. Abt has developed sector-wide decision-support tools with geospatial applications to enable screening and decision optimization around potential methane utilization projects. For example, the interactive map of U.S. Coal Mines Abt developed for the CMOP provides information on existing methane recovery projects at U.S. coal miles and enables identification of mines that could potentially host methane utilization projects in the future.



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Joe Donahue

Joe Donahue

Principal Associate

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