Invited Session: Climate Change

Greenhouse Gases and Waste: A Changing Climate for Decision-Making (0.5 CEU)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
8:00 – 8:30
Room 316

The contribution of waste management to climate change is widely misunderstood and misreported: the reporting of emissions under the “waste” chapter of the inventory, as reported to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, covers only emissions from landfills, biowaste treatment facilities and from the treatment of waste waters. The upsides from mitigation effectively are hidden in reduced emissions reported under the inventories for stationary combustion, and for industrial emissions. This presentation reviews the overall impact that improved waste and resource management may make to the balance of emissions from the waste management sector. It also reviews how, as the energy system decarbonizes (which it will have to if climate change is to be addressed head on), and as recycling rates increase, the performance of some of the options for managing waste is affected.

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the way emissions are reported under the greenhouse gas inventories reported to the UN
  • Understand that a proper accounting of the impacts of improved waste management indicate that the abatement potential offered by the sector is far greater if the right choices are made
  • Understand that simply “avoiding landfilling” without considering which alternatives to use, which is the message that the UN’s reporting tends one towards, will be nowhere near sufficient to address the threats we are currently facing


Dominic Hogg, Founding Director, Eunomia Research & Consulting, United Kingdom

Dominic Hogg

Dominic Hogg is chairman and founding director of Eunomia Research & Consulting, headquartered in the United Kingdom. With a degree in physics and a Ph.D. degree in economics, he has a reputation for offering insights into how waste management can be configured to maximize environmental and economic benefits. He led work on the design of deposit refund schemes in the UK, Scotland and Spain, as well as on the potential for a scheme for cans for the European Commission. Modelling of the schemes has included technical design options, the effects of deposit levels on capture rates, and the overall costs attached. The environmental analysis has included detailed assessment of the impacts of changing the materials flows into residual waste, recycling, and littering waste streams. The assessment of disamenity from littering, and specifically, the impacts of littering in the marine environment also have been explored.