The strategy to reduce methane output is scheduled to be unveiled “imminently” by China, the world’s largest methane emitter, though it may not include setting precise reduction targets, according to two people familiar with the idea.
Although more than 150 countries, led by the United States, have signed a worldwide agreement to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030, China has so far resisted this pressure. China contributes more than 14% of the world’s methane emissions.
“During a visit to China last month, I reviewed a draft of the plan and discussed it with China’s special climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua,” stated Marcelo Mena, the head of the Global Methane Hub and former Chilean environment minister. “I would say that what we could expect from this is going to be a very detailed plan of policies – of different regulations – that will be enacted,” Mena said.
Though Mena did not see any specific targets in the strategy, he did tell Reuters that it focuses on some of China’s most difficult methane sources, such as emissions from coal mine seams and agriculture, especially rice cultivation.
He claimed that Xie informed him that the proposal would be unveiled either before or during the next two weeks, starting on November 30, during the COP28 climate conference in Dubai.
“This will be likely the most ambitious commitment and will cut the biggest chunk out of emissions from developing countries,” he stated.
Another source with knowledge of the plans, who wished to remain anonymous due to lack of authorization to address the media, stated that China has been hesitant to incorporate numerical targets in the strategy due to apprehensions expressed by its ministries of agriculture and energy regarding the influence on their important economic sectors.
In response to inquiries regarding the publication date and inclusion of specific goals in the report, the environment ministry of China did not provide a prompt response.
According to state media, the ministry stated last week that it was “pushing forward” the plan’s publication, but it did not specify when.
In an effort to reduce methane, the agricultural ministry last year suggested novel farming techniques including managing paddy irrigation and feeding livestock low-protein diets.
According to environmental research organisation Kayrros, China has 28% of the world’s major methane emissions locations and is the world’s largest source of methane from coal mines. This means that the country’s huge coal sector may present the biggest difficulty.
According to the second source, China is anticipated to present its methane strategy before the United States and China resume bilateral negotiations in California this week in advance of the APEC meeting in San Francisco.
At the Glasgow climate summit in 2021, the United States and China first decided to collaborate on methane measurement and reduction.
China has already established targets to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2060 and to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.