China fails to control methane emissions liable to climate change nightmare

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : The coal mines in China are continuously emitting methane gas despite of government limitations, a new study based on satellite data reveals. The news is a big concern as major emitters like China are failing to control the emission of such gasses which are responsible for drastic climate change scenes.

"China's methane regulations have not had a detectable impact on the country's methane emissions," the study's first author Scot Miller told AFP. 

"China has been able to 'talk the talk' so to speak in terms of setting emissions reduction policies, but we found that the country has not yet been able to 'walk the walk'," added Miller, assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University. 

Based on the Japanese satellite data, the researchers studied greenhouse gases, and looked at measurements from 2010-2015. It is the most updated information available with the team when they started to study two years ago.

Data reveals that emissions continued to grow in line with pre-2010 trends even after a raft of new regulations came into place. 

"We estimate that emissions in 2015 are 50 per cent higher than in 2000," Miller said. 

The increase in China's emissions over the 15-year period was comparable "to the total annual emissions from a country like Russia or Brazil," he added. 

Methane is considered the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. 

Just like carbon-dioxide, the methane gas traps the sun's heat, warming the atmosphere, but methane does so 28 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide. 

While methane can be naturally released, and absorbed, by the earth, emissions of the gas have skyrocketed along with industrialisation and a growing human population. 

It occurs naturally in seams of coal, and is released when the resource is mined. 

A few studies suggest that China is the world's largest emitter of methane, with the coal sector accounting for about a third of its output. 

The country is the world's biggest polluter, but also its biggest investor in renewable energy and has repeatedly promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. 

But, is the country really serious about the greenhouse effect and unexpected climate changes? Well, the time will have proper answer for all of us.