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China's regulations failed to slow down methane emissions: investigation



Mining. Credit: Public domain

China, which is already the world's leading emitter of man-made greenhouse gases, continues to pump increasing amounts of climate-changing methane into the atmosphere despite tough new gas release regulations from its coal mines, a new Johns Hopkins study shows.


The results of the study are published on January 29 in Nature Communications .

"Our study shows that China's government at least expresses methane emissions could not go," said Scot Miller, assistant professor of environmental hygiene and engineering at Johns Hopkins University and the study's first author.

China is the world's largest Producer and consumer of coal with carbon accounts for about 72 percent of the country's electricity production .While data show that coal production has increased in China, it has been unclear so far very much methane gas, or CH4, has increased. coal mining is responsible for the majority of carbon-related CH4 emissions and is probably the largest man-made CH4 source in China

In an effort to reduce coal mining, China adopted regulations in 201

0 requiring all mines to use All coal mines for electricity production or heating or flare it Flaring converts CH4 into carbon dioxide, which does not heat the climate as efficiently as CH4. The government's strategy for economic and industrial development for 2011 to 2015, set the goal of using 8.4 billion cubic meters or 5.6 charts of coal mining before 2015. The plan also deals with coal mining use of 20 billion cubic meters or 13.2 diagrams by 2020. The context of China's 2015 goals is to eliminate all methane emissions from a country such as Australia or Canada, and the 2020 targets are more than double.

To investigate how China's methane emissions evolved from 2010 to 2015, the research team used data from the GOSAT satellite (GOSAT), a satellite launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in 2009, bringing together atmospheric methane and carbondioxide. GOSAT is one of the first satellites to measure methane and carbon dioxide with sufficient precision and accuracy to provide a robust image of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth's surface. Satellite's nearly ten-year observation of observations allows researchers to examine annual trends in greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. While other studies have used GOSAT data to focus on individual regions such as India or in some years, the first time satellite observations have been used to focus specifically on trends in China's methane emissions.

The research team found that methane emissions increased by approx. 1.1 charts every year from 2010 to 2015 in China, resulting in about 50 percent higher annual CH4 emissions by the end of the period; this increase is comparable to the total emissions from countries such as Russia or Brazil. In addition, the researchers found that this increase from China accounts for 11 to 24 percent of the world's total increase. This increase is consistent with trends ahead of China's 2010 policy implementations, suggesting that its regulations have not been effective in cutting methane emissions.

"China has received a lot of press coverage in recent years for its efforts to introduce greenhouse gas regulations and its efforts to become a leader in climate change, but the figures show that China's methane regulations have in particular not had any demonstrable impact on their emissions," Miller.

Some obstacles to the implementation of these coal mine methane policies include subpar technology that cannot drain high enough methane for use or lack of pipelines that could transport methane from mines to power plants or central heating. Looking forward, Mills research team will investigate how China can most effectively implement its methane emission policies and improve air quality.


Explore further:
How to make the liquid natural gas industry more sustainable

More information:
Scot M. Miller et al. China's coal methane regulations have not slowed growing emissions, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10,1038 / s41467-018-07891-7

Journal reference:
nature Communications

Available by:
Johns Hopkins University


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