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China starts to engage with the Global Methane Pledge

The thaw in relations between China and the US symbolised by the meeting between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping at the G20 had an immediate impact at COP27 in Egypt, where China’s leading climate change envoy unexpectedly engaged with the Global Methane Pledge. Reuters report that Xie Zhenhua held unofficial talks with John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and also unexpectedly attended a meeting there to discuss the Global Methane Pledge.

Xie reiterated his previous recent announcement that China is developing a draft plan to control methane emissions. This plan has yet to be made public, but it is believed will focus on three key areas; energy, agriculture and waste. China has provided direct support for the biogas sector since at least 2003, particularly for agricultural plants.

China has a pivotal role to play in reducing global emissions…

China is the world’s leading emitter of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful in its effect on climate change than C02. According to the IEA, China accounted for 54.8 Mt of methane in 2021. This was 74% higher than the 31.5 Mt emitted by the USA and equal to 16.4% of global methane emissions in that year. While China looks unlikely to officially sign up to the Pledge, and Chinese plans are clearly at an early stage, their successful implementation would go a long way towards meeting the Pledge target of a 30% cut in methane emissions by 2030 and 0.2% reduction in overall climate warming by 2050.

…as does greater uptake of biogas technology

Biogas has a key role to play in meeting the Global Methane Pledge targets. Speaking at COP27 on November 17th, Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the World Biogas Association, noted that ‘By recycling all readily available organic wastes through biogas, the WBA’s modelling shows that the technology can deliver 50% of the Global Methane Pledge.’ The WBA has also produced a new pamphlet this month. Delivering The Global Methane Pledge highlights the role biogas can play around the world and across the energy, agriculture and organic waste sectors. Download a copy of it here.

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