Over the last two decades, the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy has developed a number of international agreements, basically classifications and codifications in the field of coal and gas. The current programme is now being enlarged by initiating new normative projects related to the harmonization of national and regional regulations and specifications in the field of energy and environment, energy use and equipment and energy efficiency.
- The United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC-2009) is a universally acceptable and internationally applicable scheme for the classification and reporting of fossil energy and mineral reserves and resources and is currently the only classification in the world to do so. It applies to all extractive activities, including coal, oil, gas and uranium. UNFC-2009 provides a single framework on which to build international energy and mineral studies, analyse government resource management policies, plan industrial processes and allocate capital efficiently. By covering all extractive activities, UNFC-2009 captures the common principles and provides a tool for consistent reporting for these activities, regardless of the commodity. Importantly, it paves the way for improved global communications which will aid stability and security of supplies, governed by fewer and more widely understood rules and guidelines. This normative document has been approved by ECOSOC and recommended for worldwide implementation. Following the completion in 2013 of the generic specifications (rules of application) and commodity-specific specifications for petroleum and solid minerals, UNFC-2009 is now operational. The specifications ensure an appropriate level of consistency in the reporting of reserve and resource estimates under the system. Work is underway to broaden application of UNFC-2009 to renewable energy resources and injection projects, in particular to the storage of carbon dioxide.
- The International Codification System for Low-grade Coal Utilization (2002) is a helpful tool for coal users in selecting different types of solid fuels and optimizing the combustion process in thermal power sector.
- The UNECE International Codification System for Medium and High Rank Coals (1988) is a useful instrument to assist in characterizing coals involved in the international trade of coal.
- The UNECE Uniform Code of Draught Survey and Equipment Specifications for Determining the Weight of Bulk Coal Cargoes (1992) harmonizes procedures and practices in the international seaborne coal trade.
- The International Classification of Dynamic Phenomena in Mines (1994) helps managers and researchers engaged in mine safety to forecast and prevent the gas dynamic phenomena in underground coal mines.
- The UNECE International Classification System of In Seam Coals (1998) determines the procedure of some geological operations related to coal seam evaluation.
- The Glossary of Natural Gas Reserves (1996) serves to enhance communication and understanding of terms and definitions related to gas exploration, exploitation and economics.
- Harmonization of Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling Systems helps to promote energy-efficient technology in households and services and enhance technology transfer to economies in transition. Work is underway to develop best practice guidance, as appropriate, across the range of energy efficiency topics (standards), labelling/testing, subsidies (monitoring, reporting, lifting), tariffs, market design, market access, network issues, investment finance, research and development, and capacity building.
- Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines (2010) provides guidance to mine owners and operators, government regulators, and policymakers in the design and implementation of safe, effective methane capture and control in underground coal mines. It encourages safer mining practices to reduce fatalities, injuries, and property losses associated with methane. An important co-benefit of effective methane drainage at coal mines is to allow for the recovery of methane to optimize the use of otherwise-wasted energy resources. Thus, an important motivation behind the development of this guidance document is to facilitate and encourage the utilization and abatement of coal mine methane (CMM) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ultimately, adoption of these practices will help to enhance the sustainability and long-term financial position of coal mines globally by:
- Striving to achieve a goal of zero fatalities, injuries, and property losses.
- Demonstrating the global coal industry’s commitment to mine safety, climate change mitigation, corporate social responsibility, and good citizenship.
- Establishing a global dialogue on CMM capture and use.
- Creating critical linkages among coal industry, government, and regulatory officials.
- Incorporating effective CMM capture as a part of an effective risk management portfolio.
The guidance document is not a comprehensive, prescriptive approach and hence might not adequately account for site-specific conditions, geology, and mining practices. Rather, it represents a broad set of principles that can be adapted as appropriate to individual circumstances. The technologies for implementing these principles evolve and improve over time. International industry best practices are outlined in this document as resources.
- Work is underway to develop best practice guidance to support the use and installation of renewable energy technologies.
- Work is additionally underway to develop best practice guidance to reduce leaks in the gas value chain, to enhance the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and to use natural gas to significantly increasing the uptake of renewable energy in the UNECE region.