Climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face today. It is therefore more important than ever to take climate change into account when making policy decisions at a national or local level, across all sectors.
Waste-to-energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector by preventing methane emissions from landfill and by generating renewable energy. This is confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).
In comparison to landfill, “GHG [greenhouse gas] generation can be largely avoided through controlled aerobic composting and thermal processes such as incineration for waste-to-energy”
“Incineration and industrial co-combustion for waste–to-energy provide significant renewable energy benefits and fossil fuel offsets”
“Incineration reduces the mass of waste and can offset fossil fuel use; in addition, GHG emissions are avoided, except for the small contribution from fossil carbon”
The IPCC is a highly regarded international organisation for the study of climate change. The information above is taken from their recent assessment Climate Change 2007: Mitigation on Climate Change, designed to inform policy makers on measures that reduce, or mitigate, greenhouse gas emissions.
In line with this, Ireland’s National Climate Change Strategy supports the development of waste-to-energy.
Waste-to-energy “…can provide significant mitigation potential for the waste sector, especially in the short term”.