Canada-Chile join forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills

by CCAC secretariat - 3 July, 2017
The ‘Canada-Chile Program to reduce emissions from the waste sector to support Nationally Determined Contributions implementation’ is an example of both countries’ strong commitment to climate and clean air

Climate change knows no borders. Its impacts are global and indiscriminate. The urgent need to find solutions to the problem is spurring global action and international cooperation to find ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Chile and Canada are launching one such initiative, a collaborative program to reduce methane emissions from the municipal solid waste sector.

Methane is a powerful short-lived climate pollutant that has a global warming potential more than 20 times higher that of carbon dioxide while it is in the atmosphere. The international community recognizes the importance of reducing short-lived climate pollutants as part of a comprehensive strategy to address climate change and as a practical approach to making near-term improvements in the environment and human health.

Decomposing organic matter in landfills is a large source of man-made methane emissions, and the Canada and Chile collaborative program will build on the ground capacity that supports clean innovation and reduces methane emissions from landfills. It will also explore opportunities to divert organic matter from landfills to prevent methane generation. This bilateral environmental cooperation is designed to deliver significant direct environmental and health co-benefits and help Chile use landfill generated gas as an alternative clean energy source.  

The project will run from 2017 to 2021. Through targeted activities, and the generation of financing from public and private sources, the goal is to scale up the project across the country and increase Chile’s capacity to track, monitor, and report on emission reductions.

Methane recovery from the Loma Los Colorados landfill, which processes waste from Chile's capital, Santiago.

Bilateral environmental cooperation between Chile and Canada has an established history, dating back to the founding of the Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (CCAEC) in 1997.

This new project – called the Canada-Chile Program to reduce emissions from the waste sector to support Nationally Determined Contributions implementation – demonstrates the value of bilateral partnerships in reducing emissions and helps set the groundwork for other countries to benefit from the experiences gained through this unique partnership. Knowledge and best practices gathered from this municipal solid waste project can be replicated by other countries who are interested in undertaking similar actions.

Beyond this partnership with Canada, Chile has undertaken numerous environmental initiatives, both bilaterally with other countries and multilaterally with other organizations to advance their environmental commitment. 

Chile is addressing its climate challenges through domestic, bilateral and international actions that will have positive impacts at both the local and the global level. Globally, Chile has demonstrated its commitment to addressing climate change by ratifying the Paris Agreement and, domestically, Chile set its own ambitious climate change target (its Nationally Determined Contributions).

Chile is also an active partner in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), a global initiative that brings together countries, civil society and intergovernmental organizations to catalyze reductions of short-lived climate pollutants. Through the Coalition Chile recently endorsed the BreatheLife campaign, an innovative global initiative led by the World Health Organization and United Nations Environment to encourage cities around the world make transformative changes to improve air quality and public health.  The Chilean capital of Santiago joined BreatheLife in 2016, and this year the cities of Talca, Concepción, Hualqui and Chiguayante joined as well.  


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