The World Biogas Association (WBA) has said that anaerobic digestion (AD) has been 'dangerously overlooked' in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The global trade association for the biogas, landfill gas and AD sectors was responding to the recently published report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report called for 'strong, rapid and sustained' reductions to GHG emissions, particularly methane, within the next decade to avert a climate catastrophe.

The WBA is urging policy makers to recognise what it describes as the 'vital role' of AD – which produces biogas by recycling methane-emitting organic wastes – as an immediate solution to reducing GHG emissions worldwide.

"Clear evidence and recognition from international bodies such as the UN Environment Programme, Climate & Clean Air Coalition and International Energy Agency shows that AD is a readily available, low-cost technology that can immediately help tackle climate change," the WBA said.

According to the WBA, human activity produces 105bn tonnes of organic wastes every year, globally.

By treating these wastes through AD, as well as producing green gas and other valuable bioproducts, the biogas industry could deliver a reduction of over 10% in global GHG emissions by 2030, it said.

Biogas and biomethane - an upgraded form of biogas - are substitutes for fossil natural gas and can rapidly decarbonise carbon-intensive sectors such as transport and heat.

AD technology also plays a role in decarbonising agriculture – which by itself generates nearly 20% of global GHG emissions, the WBA said.

“Research from the WBA and other biogas trade bodies and from UN Environment Programme, Climate & Clean Air Coalition and International Energy Agency has demonstrated our industry’s potential to deliver a huge reduction in global GHG emissions, especially methane, within the next few years,“ said Charlotte Morton, WBA chief executive.

Crucially, anaerobic digestion, the technology that produces biogas – also known as renewable natural gas or biomethane – as well as a bio-fertiliser, bio-CO2 and other valuable bio-products, is ready to deliver on that potential now. What is badly missing is the political will to remove policy barriers to the growth of the sector – both at global and national levels."