From the place you’d least expect….CNN
Chinese methane emissions are rising at an alarming rate despite recent government regulations aimed at curbing the climate-changing pollutant, a new report has revealed.
A study released in the journal Nature on Tuesday shows a steady growth in China’s methane emissions, primarily from the country’s massive coal mining sector, undermining Beijing’s claims to be leading the world on climate change action.
“Methane emissions in China appear to be increasing, business as usual. We were unable to detect any impact of regulations on the country’s methane emissions,” the report’s lead researcher Scot M. Miller told CNN.
China is among the world’s largest emitters of methane. While methane is less prevalent in the earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide, it traps “28 times more heat” according to the Global Carbon Project.
In 2010 the Chinese government enacted a series of new polices requiring methane from coal mining to be captured, or to be converted into carbon dioxide. But scientists found that the policies had failed to curb overall emissions.
China’s annual methane emissions increased by 50% for at least five years after government regulations were passed in 2010. The jump is equivalent to the total emissions of other large nations such as Russia and Brazil.
China’s coal mine methane regulations have not curbed growing emissions
Anthropogenic methane emissions from China are likely greater than in any other country in the world. The largest fraction of China’s anthropogenic emissions is attributable to coal mining, but these emissions may be changing; China enacted a suite of regulations for coal mine methane (CMM) drainage and utilization that came into full effect in 2010. Here, we use methane observations from the GOSAT satellite to evaluate recent trends in total anthropogenic and natural emissions from Asia with a particular focus on China. We find that emissions from China rose by 1.1 ± 0.4 Tg CH4 yr−1 from 2010 to 2015, culminating in total anthropogenic and natural emissions of 61.5 ± 2.7 Tg CH4 in 2015. The observed trend is consistent with pre-2010 trends and is largely attributable to coal mining. These results indicate that China’s CMM regulations have had no discernible impact on the continued increase in Chinese methane emissions.