China’s tough stance has little impact on emissions


China’s tough new laws aimed at combatting emissions from its power sector have had little discernible impact, a new report from Johns Hopkins University has found.

“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.

Already the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal. China’s production of methane gas has continued to rise, despite tough new regulations coming into effect in 2010.

To study the country’s methane emissions, the research team from Johns Hopkins used data collected from Japan’s Greenhouse Gases Observing satellite.

The research team found that methane emissions rose by approximately 1.1 teragrams each year from 2010 to 2015 in China, resulting in about a 50 percent higher level of annual CH4 emissions by the end of the period; this increase is comparable to total emissions from countries like Russia or Brazil.

“China has received a lot of press coverage over the past few years for its efforts to enact greenhouse gas regulations and its efforts to become a leader on climate change, but the numbers show that China’s methane regulations, in particular, have not had any detectable impact on their emissions,” says Miller.

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