China, the world’s biggest emitter of human-caused methane, is drafting a national action plan for methane emission control during its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, as reported by Reuters on November 25 citing the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE). MEE’s deputy director for climate change, Lu Xinming, stated China will conduct thorough research on methane emission control situation nationwide, and reduce emissions in key industries including coal mining, agriculture, urban solid waste and sewage water treatment, as well as petroleum and natural gas sectors. Also, China would improve its data collection and analysis, reporting, and verification systems in the above sectors, in addition to a voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trading system for enterprises to diminish methane emissions.
The action plan was announced after China and the US, the world’s two largest GHG emitters, reached a deal at the COP26 summit to enhance collaborations in tackling climate change issues by measures such as methane emission reduction. China plans to roll out the comprehensive action plan by the UN climate conference next year, after the US had released its methane emission reduction plan. Coal mining contributed to China’s most methane emissions, followed by waste and agriculture. The country’s anthropogenic methane emissions showed a stabilized trend in the past decade as the coal production grew smoothly, according to a recent study by scientists at Peking University. Nevertheless, China’s carbon neutrality goal for 2060 requires a stricter curb on methane emissions as it can warm the atmosphere 80 times more intensively than carbon dioxide in a 20-year period.