Govt releases plan to reduce methane

Updated: Nov 10, 2023 By Hou Liqiang China Daily Print
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Nation commits to multiple targets to control emissions of the gas by 2025

China made public an action plan dedicated to methane emission control on Wednesday, committing to a series of specific targets in different sectors.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that, despite the relatively short time it spends in the atmosphere, has a significant contribution to global warming in the short term.

The latest official data on China's methane emissions comes from 2018, published by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The data shows that, as of 2014, methane emissions accounted for 10.4 percent of China's total greenhouse gas emissions, with the most methane emissions coming from energy activities, at about 520 million metric tons, followed by emissions from agricultural activities, at about 467 million tons.

The plan defines the key tasks for controlling methane emissions in various fields by 2025.

The country will take steps to reduce methane emissions and improve methane utilization in the fields of oil and gas extraction, said the document issued by 11 central government bodies, including the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

By 2025, for instance, the coal-mining sector is expected to collect 6 billion cubic meters of coal bed gas, which contains methane, for utilization, it said.

The action plan also pledges to improve facilities for storage and disposal of dung in livestock farms, which is another significant emitter of methane. It said efforts will be made to promote closed systems for dung disposal.

In rural China, the country will encourage the construction of anaerobic digesters to capture methane from manure. Incentives will be introduced to encourage the use of methane for heating and power generation, it said.

The country aims to have at least 80 percent of dung in the livestock sector utilized by 2025, it said. By 2030, the proportion is expected to increase to more than 85 percent.

In the waste and wastewater treatment field, efforts will be made to reduce waste at the source, improve the level of landfill gas recovery and utilization, and achieve a resource utilization rate of about 60 percent for urban household waste by 2025.

By 2025, the harmless disposal rate of urban sludge will reach more than 90 percent.

In addition, the plan also requires strengthening the coordinated control of pollutants and methane, and building a governance system that integrates pollutant reduction with methane emission control.

Lu Xinming, deputy director of the department of climate change affairs at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said that they will strengthen the construction of the monitoring, accounting, reporting, and verification system for methane emissions in key areas.

The ministry will also promote the collection and analysis of methane emissions data from key facilities, carry out evaluations and tracking of the effectiveness of methane emission reduction in key regions and key enterprises, and improve the reporting system for methane-related data in the statistical reporting system for climate change response, and continuously improve the quality of data on methane emissions.

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