China's regulations unsuccessful in curbing methane emissions: study

phys.org | 1/29/2019 | Staff
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China, already the world's leading emitter of human-caused greenhouse gases, continues to pump increasing amounts of climate-changing methane into the atmosphere despite tough new regulations on gas releases from its coal mines, a new Johns Hopkins study shows.

The study's findings will be published Jan. 29 in Nature Communications.

Study - Terms - Methane - Emissions - China

"Our study indicates that, at least in terms of methane emissions, China's government is 'talking the talk,' but has not been able to 'walk the walk,'" says Scot Miller, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University and the study's first author.

China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, with coal accounting for approximately 72 percent of the country's electricity generation. While data show that coal production increased in China, it has been unclear until now much methane gas, or CH4, has increased. Coal mine methane, or CH4 that is released during coal mining, is responsible for the majority of coal-related CH4 emissions and is likely the largest human-caused CH4 source in China.

Effort - Coal - Mine - Methane - China

In an effort to reduce coal mine methane, China enacted regulations in 2010 requiring all mines to utilize all coal mine methane for electricity generation or heating, or flare it. Flaring converts the CH4 into carbon dioxide which does not warm the climate as effectively as CH4. The country's 12th Five Year Plan, the communist government's strategy for economic and industrical development for 2011 through 2015, set a goal of using 8.4 billion cubic meters or 5.6 teragrams of coal mine methane by 2015. The plan also targets coal mine methane use of 20 billion cubic meters or 13.2 teragrams by 2020. For context, China's 2015 targets are equivalent to eliminating all methane emissions from a country like Australia or Canada, and the 2020 targets are more than twice that amount.

To examine how China's methane...
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