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S18 United Nations Environment Programme Global Mercury Partnership

Monday, 25 July, 2011

MS18-O1 — 8:30-8:45
UNEP GLOBAL MERCURY PARTNERSHIP
Author: PIPER, David1
(1) United Nations Environment Programme, david.piper@unep.org

In February 2009, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) agreed to develop a global legally binding instrument on mercury by February 2013. The agreement is being developed by an intergovernmental negotiating committee. UNEP acts as a Secretariat to the negotiation process. At the same time, UNEP coordinates the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership through seven priority work areas. The Partnership is the vehicle for immediate actions on mercury and is the primary interface between UNEP’s work and the global scientific community.

The purpose of this session is to highlight how scientific information is currently playing into the UNEP program and also to outline opportunities for the scientific community in light of the future mercury treaty and the work areas of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership.

MS18-O2 — 8:45-9:00
SUMMARY OF THE PROGRESS OF THE UNEP COAL PARTNERSHIP AREA WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING MERCURY INVENTORIES AND ESTABLISHING MERCURY REDUCTION PROJECTS IN SELECTED COUNTRIES
Authors: SLOSS, Lesley1, JOZEWICZ, Wojciech2, FUTSAETER, Gunnar3
(1) IEA Clean Coal Centre, lesleysloss@gmail.com; (2) Arcadis; (3) UNEP.

The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) is working towards a legally binding instrument on mercury, to be finalized in 2013. The UNEP Mercury Programme Partnership is the main mechanism for the delivery of immediate actions on mercury during the negotiation process of this treaty. In support of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership, the European Commission has provided funding and several projects have been initiated in target countries to improve the accuracy of mercury emissions inventories and to demonstrate the potential for economic mercury reduction at full scale coal-fired facilities. The UNEP Coal Partnership is currently coordinating projects in Russia, China and South Africa.

Initial results from a new emission inventory of the power sector in Russia indicate that mercury emissions are significant. The Coal Partnership is co-funding two mercury reduction projects to demonstrate the potential for enhanced mercury removal with existing pollution control systems at typical Russian coal-fired plants. One of the selected plants has an ESP (electrostatic precipitator) based particulate control system, the other has a wet particulate matter venturi scrubber based system. The potential for mercury reduction will be demonstrated with the addition of a sorbent to the ESP system of one plant and an oxidising agent in the other.

The Chinese study, carried out by Tsinghua University, represents probably the most extensive study ever on mercury in Chinese coals. The report also demonstrates how the rapid move towards cleaner and more efficient plants has not only curbed the rapid rise in mercury emissions from but is also likely to result in a move towards an overall reduction in mercury emissions from China within the next decade.

The stack sampling study in South Africa, supported by the US EPA, represents the first ever measurement of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in this region. A project has been proposed to determine the efficacy for the removal of mercury from coal through a relatively dry coal cleaning process, which could be applicable on a large scale in the region.

MS18-O3 — 9:00-9:15
THE UNEP FATE AND TRANSPORT PARTNERSHIP AREA: AN OVERVIEW OF SIX YEARS ACTIVITY AND FUTURE PLANS
Authors: PIRRONE, Nicola1, FINO, Alessandra2, STRINCONE, Marco 2
(1) CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, pirrone@iia.cnr.it; (2) CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Italy;

The Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research UNEP Partnership (F&T) area started its activity in 2005 and since have provided a valuable contribution to the UNEP Mercury Program and established a close cooperation with other international programs (i.e., GEO Task HE-09-02d / GEOSS) and conventions (UNECE-TF HTAP) (http://www.unep.org/ hazardoussubstances/Mercury/tabid/434/Default.aspx). The UNEP F&T aims to increase global understanding of international mercury emissions sources, fate and transport by:

  • Accelerating the development of sound scientific information to address uncertainties and data gaps in global mercury cycling and its patterns (e.g., air concentrations and deposition rates, source-receptor relationships, hemispheric-global air transport/transformation emission sources, transboundary movement through hydrological and atmospheric pathways, air/water exchange, mercury fate in contaminated sites, aquatic mercury cycle and exposure in biota, particularly fish);
  • Enhancing sharing of such information among scientists and between them and policymakers;
  • Providing technical assistance and training, where possible, to support the development of critical information;
  • Enhancing the development of a globally-coordinated mercury observation system to monitor the concentrations of mercury species into the air and water ecosystems in cooperation with the GEO Task HE-09-02d “Global Observation Network for Mercury” as part of GEOSS 2009-2011 workplan. Enhancing the exchange of information and cooperation with the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollutants (TF HTAP) of the UNECE-LRTAP Convention.
At present, considering the importance of an integrated evaluation of mercury impacts on the whole environment, the scope of the Partnership’s research activities is being extended to include aquatic transport and fate of methylmercury to biota as well as human exposure.

The F&T will continue not only to act as an integrator of scientific information among the partnerships but will continue to support the overarching goals of the UNEP Mercury Programme, including contributing to, coordination and liaison with various organizations and programs (such as UNECE-TF HTAP, AMAP, GMOS, UNEP Regional Seas, GEOSS-Task HE-09-02d).

MS18-O4 — 9:15-9:30
THE ARTISANAL AND SMALL SCALE GOLD MINING AREA OF THE GLOBAL MERCURY PARTNERSHIP
Authors: KEANE, Susan1, BERNAUDAT, Ludovic2
(1) Natural Resources Defense Council, skeane@nrdc.org; (2) United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining Partnership area is part of UNEP’s Global Mercury Partnership, an initiative to reduce global mercury pollution through coordinated voluntary actions. This partnership area, co-lead by Natural Resources Defense Council and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, gathers the major actors in the sector, including governments, academia and civil society. The ASGM sector remains the largest demand sector for mercury globally (best global estimates put mercury use by the sector in the range of 1300 tonne/year in 2010). Virtually all of the mercury introduced in the process is released to the environment. This sector involves an estimated 10-20 million miners, and the numbers are likely increasing as the rising price of gold attracts additional poverty-driven miners. Serious long-term environmental health hazards exist for populations associated with or living downstream/wind from mining operations, often including indigenous peoples. Because ASGM sites are usually remote, and because the practice is often informal and in some countries illegal, reaching out to individual miners is challenging. The objective of the ASGM Partnership area is to minimize and where possible eliminate mercury uses and releases in artisanal and small scale gold mining. The Partnership area promotes a target of a 50 percent reduction in mercury demand in ASGM by the year 2017. The Partnership area strives to meet this objective by providing assistance to countries to formalize / regulate the ASGM sector; working with governments to address financial, policy and regulatory options which can improve the ability of mining communities to reduce mercury use and emissions; providing economic, technical, and educational information / guidance to miners and mining communities; and working within supply chains to promote environmentally sound gold products. In particular, the Partnership focuses on eliminating three worst practices: whole ore amalgamation, open burning of amalgam and the use of cyanide after mercury amalgamation.

MS18-O5 — 9:30-9:45
MERCURY IN PRODUCTS
Author: GROENEVELD, Thomas1
(1) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, groeneveld.thomas@epa.gov

Large amounts of mercury are used globally in the manufacture and use of numerous products and manufacturing processes at such a level that it represents almost one-third the global demand. Yet, for most products, there are effective alternatives available. Eliminating mercury in products is important because reducing the use of mercury ultimately reduces releases of mercury to the air, land or water and reduces the potential for direct human exposure. Within the United Nations Environment Programme Global Mercury Partnership, the Mercury-Containing Products Partnership Area (Products Partnership) strives to phase out and eventually eliminate mercury in products and to eliminate releases during manufacturing and other industrial processes via environmentally sound production, transportation, storage, and disposal procedures. Those efforts to are guided by priority actions that include developing effective and economically feasible mercury-free alternatives; encouraging the use of best available techniques and best management practices to reduce consumption and releases of mercury throughout the product lifecycle; and increasing knowledge on mercury inventories, human and environmental exposure to mercury, mercury environmental monitoring, and socio-economic impacts of mercury in products.

MS18-O6 — 9:45-10:00
STATE OF EXPERIENCE WITH UNEP’S MERCURY INVENTORY TOOLKIT AND A PRESENTATION OF THE UPDATED, SIMPLIFIED TOOLS
Author: MAAG, Jakob1
(1) COWI, jam@cowi.dk

National mercury release inventories are a key component in the assessments of the needs for, and the design of, national management plans to reduce the adverse impacts of mercury. It is also a very useful element in any country’s participation in the negotiation of a global agreement on mercury. UNEP’s Toolkit for Identification and Quantification of Mercury Releases - the Toolkit - was launched in a pilot draft version in 2005 as a means of facilitating the development of national mercury releases inventories. The Toolkit provides a methodology and a comprehensive data base on mercury release sources, their characteristics and typical releases to the environment. Since 2005, the pilot draft Toolkit has been used in the development of mercury inventories in a number of countries. Based on the experience with using the Toolkit, a need was identified for further simplification of the methodology, in order to reduce the resource needs and expertise needs for inventory development. Consequently, an update of the Toolkit was launched in 2010, now encompassing a simplified and standardised inventory methodology called "Inventory Level 1" suitable for developing the first national mercury inventories, as well as the original, more detailed and adaptable methodology, now named "Inventory Level 2". The key author of the Toolkit will present the state of experience with the Mercury Toolkit in countries around the world, as well as the merits and limitations of the new methodology and the first experience with its use. The presentation will discuss the results generated and the key challenges in national mercury inventory development.

MS18-O7 — 10:00-10:15
UNEP’S DEMONSTRATION OF MERCURY CAPTURE IN WET CENTRIFUGAL SCRUBBER OF COAL THERMAL POWER PLANT
Authors: ZYKOV, A.M. 1, ANICHKOV, S.N.1, KOLESNIKOV, S. P. 2, RUBINSKAYA, T. Ya. 2, STREL’TSOVA, E. D. 2, LEONOVA, M. Yu. 3, KORSHEVETS, I. K. 2, MENCHIKOV, L.G.2, JOZEWICZ , W. 4
(1) All Russia Thermal Engineering Institute, zykov-naot@yandex.ru ; (2) N D Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry; (3) ; (4) ARADIS, USA

Practically one-third of coal thermal power plants in Russia are equipped with wet centrifugal scrubbers with Venturi’s coagulators to catch the fly ash. This equipment, as a rule, does not provide the modern regulatory requirements for particulate emissions. In addition, CAMR rules (special program EPA) foresee a significant reduction (70%) of mercury emissions and include measures to modernize the gas-cleaning equipment to capture mercury compounds. As part of the EPA program an appropriate methods have been proposed for improving the efficiency of mercury catching in wet centrifugal scrubbers of coal thermal power plant.

It is shown that the increase in density of Venturi’s coagulator irrigation up to 0.4…0.5 liter per Nm3 in the regime of closed cycle of irrigation raises the degree of catching of flying ashes of coal thermal power plants’ boiler up to 98.8%, i.e. more than 4…6 times as much in comparison with the regular regime. Up to 45% of the total contents of mercury in coal at existing regimes of its burning is caught in the pulp as soluble in water or associated with ashes compounds and depends a little on density of scrubbers’ irrigation. Thus more than half of mercury is not caught in scrubbers and is thrown out into atmosphere as metallic mercury vapors.

It is offered to introduce chemical oxidizers into scrubbers’ irrigation water with the purpose of increase in a degree of mercury vapors catching from flue gases due to its transformation into soluble compounds of bivalent mercury. Model experiments for oxidation of metallic mercury in gases (in particular, in the air) via bubbling through aqueous solutions of oxidant (KMnO4, NaOCl, KClO3, K2S2O8 and some others) at different pH show a promising results in application of oxidizers solutions. In particular, acidified KMnO4 solution is effectively oxidize a metallic mercury vapor even at low concentrations of 0.1% and moderate temperature. So the use of oxidizers within scrubbers’ irrigation water can powerfully increase the degree of mercury capture from flue gases.

MS18-O8 — 10:15-10:30
THE MERCURY GAME: EXPLORING HOW COUNTRIES AND STAKEHOLDERS REPRESENT MERCURY SCIENCE IN THE GLOBAL MERCURY NEGOTIATIONS
Authors: STOKES, Leah C1, SELIN, Noelle E 1, SUSSKIND, Lawrence E1
(1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lstokes@mit.edu

This paper examines how different parties in the ongoing global mercury treaty negotiations interpret mercury science using a negotiation simulation game, in which players take on roles of countries, scientists and stakeholders. Negotiation simulations are a unique way to bring people together in an attempt to understand how the actual negotiations could unfold given different scenarios. In this case, we focus on different presentations of mercury science and risk.

The paper provides a brief history of the recent international efforts to negotiate a mercury treaty, exploring important scientific uncertainties that participants have highlighted during the negotiations. We use this information to build the simulation, exploring how mercury science is presented in various ways within a negotiating context, and the implications of these choices for policy development. In the game, negotiators are presented with different sources of scientific information, with varying assumptions of uncertainty and risk, in addition to instructions that help the players to represent their role accurately. Our analysis focuses on the credibility of various sources of technical information and strategies for representing risk and uncertainty.

This paper describes how current efforts in mercury regulation at the global level are grappling with finding an effective way to regulate the toxin, given political and scientific considerations. Although basic mercury science is well established, and suggests global action is necessary, several key countries have expressed hesitancy to move forward on abatement options. This paper uses the Mercury Game to explore how the mercury negotiations have navigated the problem of finding the balance between scientific and political considerations and what this means for other multilateral environmental negotiations.

We present initial results from playing the game in a variety of professional and academic environments. The game will also be played at the Conference to explore its utility within a community of scientists; since this will happen before our presentation, we will include the results in our discussion. The simulation, available through the Program on Negotiation Clearinghouse, takes 3-4 hours to play and could contribute to the UNEP Mercury Partnership’s efforts to promote science-policy interactions. The game itself could be used as a tool for engaging scientists and negotiators on the challenge of integrating science into a negotiation, and strategies to improve communication. The results may ultimately provide strategic options for representing science in environmental negotiations going forward.

Monday, 25 July, 2011