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November 25, 2021updated 14 Feb 2022 7:25am

China’s environment ministry puts methane emissions under scrutiny

China’s environment ministry is set to examine methane emissions from key industries, including coal mining and petroleum.

By Scarlett Evans

China is planning a new crackdown on methane emissions, with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) announcing on Thursday that it will be examining methane emissions in key industries including coal mining and petroleum, as well as researching methods of emission reduction.

Addressing a press briefing, the MEE’s deputy head of the climate change department, Lu Xinming, said: “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 the petroleum and natural gas sectors.”

The ministry is also anticipated to release a methane control action plan in 2022. While further publication details have not yet been disclosed, the new nationwide controls are anticipated to include a new set of policies and standards for methane emission reduction in coal, petroleum, and waste treatment fields.

According to Lu, the country will also be asking companies to use existing market infrastructures to curb emissions, including use of a voluntary greenhouse gas emissions trading system. While a carbon emissions trading platform is currently in place, there is not yet one for methane.

China, alongside the US, is one of the top global emitters of greenhouse gases, and China is the world’s biggest emitter of man-made methane, with coal mining contributing the majority of this, followed by waste and agriculture.

A collaboration between the US and China has been established to encourage greater cooperation in tackling climate change and curbing methane emissions, as well as to further the circular economy and deployment of low carbon technologies.

“Formulating the methane action plan is an important element in controlling non-carbon dioxide emissions … and an important work of China’s national strategy to actively respond to climate change and an important measure to implement the China-US joint Glasgow declaration,” Lu said.

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