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China to control methane emissions in key industries

Key industries include agriculture, coal mining and petroleum

25 November 2021, at 9:51am

China and the United States brought forward a deal earlier this month to begin cooperation in tackling climate change, including by cutting methane emissions. The two countries are the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

China's methane emissions were 55.29 million tonnes in 2014, accounting for 10.4% of total greenhouse gases emission in the country, Reuters reported. The energy sector contributed 45% of the methane discharge while agriculture accounted for 40%.

"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-U.S. joint declaration," said Lu Xinming, a vice director of the climate change department at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE).

"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 added.

The MEE also plans to set standards for the reduction and utilisation of methane emissions at coal and petroleum industries, Lu said, and will encourage companies to cut methane emissions via market trades. Currently, China has a carbon emissions trading platform. It does not have one for methane.

MEE did not offer details as to when the plan would begin nor details around the plan itself.

Energy production, raising livestock and the decay of organic waste in landfills are big methane emitters. While methane is more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, it is 80 times more potent in warming the earth.

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