AsiaElec: China unveils initial methane emissions control plans
China has said it will examine how to control methane emissions in major sectors of the economy as it builds on its COP26 promises to limit methane.
The country’s environment ministry said it would look at the coal mining, agriculture and petroleum sectors and publish a nationwide methane emissions control action plan, Reuters reported.
China and the US, the world's two biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, said at COP26 in Glasgow that they would ramp up co-operation to tackle climate change, including cutting methane emissions.
"The formulation of a methane action plan is ... an important work of China's active response to climate change strategy, and an important measure to implement the Sino-US joint declaration," Lu Xinming, a vice-director of the climate change department at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), told a news briefing.
Methane is produced during energy production, by livestock and at landfill sites as organic waste decays.
Although it is stays in the atmosphere for a far shorter length of time than carbon dioxide, it is 80 times more potent in warming the earth.
As such, reducing methane emissions has been identified as key to making rapid progress on reducing global GHG emissions.
China's methane emissions were 55.29mn tonnes in 2014, accounting for 10.4% of total GHGs emission in the country, latest official data have revealed. The energy sector contributed 45% of the methane discharge, while agriculture accounted for 40%.
"We will roll out thorough research on China's methane emission control situation, and set effective emission reduction measures targeting coal mining, agriculture, solid waste and sewage water treatment, as well as petroleum and natural gas sectors," Lu said.
Lu also said the MEE will set standards for the reduction and utilisation of methane emissions at coal and petroleum industries, and will encourage companies to cut methane emissions via market trades.
China has a carbon emissions trading platform, but not one for methane.
The MEE did not disclose the timeframe and detailed targets of the nationwide methane reduction action plan. But an MEE official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to media, said the plan was scheduled to be published in 2022, Reuters said.
Some Chinese oil and gas firms, such as China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec, have set their own targets for cutting methane emissions.