Arcadis selected to lead emission reduction scheme of Chile and Canada

17 November 2017 4 min. read
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The Canadian Government, as part of Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation commitment, is investing $7 million into reducing the climate gas emission of landfills in eight cities across Chile. Arcadis has been selected to lead the four-year project, focused on diverting organic waste and capturing methane from landfills for use in the energy sector.

The Paris Agreement set out a clear upper bound for climate warming by the end of the century, at 2C, with a strong preference for 1.5C. Meeting the target will require considerable effort, and global cooperation to achieve the goal is increasingly necessary, particularly in light of the US moving to pull out of the agreement.

Landfills remain a key way of dealing with waste. These sites tend to accrue, depending on regional capacity, large quantities of human made waste including food, paper, plastic, metals and other chemicals and materials. Much of it is simply buried, while some leaks into the oceans. Meanwhile, landfills tend to undergo organic decomposition, with the release – depending on local context – of considerable climate altering pollutants, such as C02 and methane.

Arcadis selected to lead emission reduction scheme of Chile and Canada

One way of reducing these effects and meeting climate targets is to implement circular economic policies into wider economic activity, focused on reducing, reusing, recycling waste, thereby removing negative externalities where possible. Aside from reducing human waste and recycling, various forms of emission-collecting technologies have been developed. These techniques often involve covering the landfill and deploying various gas wells to collect the gas, before processing. The resultant methane can be used in a variety of processes.

Mutual benefit

In contrast to the Trump Presidency in America, Canada’s Liberal Government, headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has recently stepped up efforts to collaborate via cross-border pacts on a variety of issues. Alongside engaging in crunch negotiations with Mexico and the US on the future of NAFTA, Canada has strengthened ties with the South American nation of Chile in order to meet environmental targets.

The Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation came into force in 1997, and is part of the mutual efforts to enhance environmental cooperation and to effectively enforce environmental laws, such as those governing water, air, toxic substances and wildlife. Adding to this, as part of supporting Chile’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2007 levels by 2030, Canada recently announced that it will pump $7 million into reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from landfills in 8 Chilean cities. The aim of the project is to divert organic waste away from landfills, while setting up systems to capture methane from landfills for fuel to use in cooking, transportation and power generation. The project will also require reporting on outcomes.

To implement key aspects of the project, the Canadian Government has hired international consultancy Arcadis. The built environment consulting firm will lead the four-year project, which will include, among others, leveraging more than 500 scientists and environmental professionals working for the firm in the country.

Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, commented on the project, "The Government of Canada is pleased to partner with Arcadis to provide expertise and clean technologies to help Chile meet its climate change goals. Through projects like this, we are delivering on our promise to provide $2.65 billion by 2020 to help countries and communities around the world reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, better resist the effects of climate change, and make a positive contribution to a global clean economy."

Arcadis Canada President Thomas Franz commented on the firm’s role in the project, "A combination of our proven environmental waste management competencies in Canada and our geotechnical, mining and water treatment experts in Chile provide the perfect solution for achieving Canada's goals in reducing the global human carbon footprint."