#MakeMercuryHistory – update from COP3 of the Minamata Convention

COP3 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury continues in Geneva in Switzerland, with focus moving on to reporting requirements and funding mechanisms which will apply as countries move towards compliance.

The Coal Partnership Area led a side-event on Tuesday evening to provide a brief introduction to the challenge of monitoring and control of mercury emissions from coal plants. Since the Convention covers mercury from all sources, many delegates are not necessarily familiar with the issue of mercury from coal. Selected experts from the Coal Partnership Area provided brief overviews of mercury-related issues, with a focus on the challenge for emerging Asia. This included:

  • A report from the Vietnam IEACCC Workshop and the UN Workshop on Mercury Emissions from Coal (covered in a recent IEACCC blog) along with a summary of new project work in the region (which I delivered);
  • A quick guide to opportunities for co-benefit mercury reduction (given by Carlos Romero of LeHigh University, USA);
  • A quick guide to mercury monitoring at low concentrations (given by Joseph Sipperstein from Ohio Lumex, USA); and
  • Quick examples of mercury control projects (given by Roger Brandwood, Uniper, UK).

These presentations will be made available on the COP3 website in due course.

The speakers made themselves available around the exhibition area on Wednesday and engaged in conversations with delegates from countries such as Core D’Ivoire –which does not yet have a coal-fired plant, but has plans for one in the near future. Using the iPOG (the software tool produced by the Coal Partnership) it was possible to predict the mercury emissions from a potential new plant along with possible options for effective emissions control.

As the plenary continues, some contentious issues are becoming clear. The contact group on effectiveness evaluation (which aims to define how the Convention might best determine whether targets and requirements are being met) debated through the evening and well into the early morning before breaking with some issues still to be resolved. However, there was also good news – during the discussion on the financial mechanisms, Norway announced a EUR 500,000 contribution and Switzerland announced CHF 100,000.00 to the Specific International Programme to Support Capacity-building and Technical Assistance.

Images courtesy of Minamata Convention – flickr.