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China merely “talking the talk” on greenhouse gas reduction

Haze in Southwest China by NASA

A study out of Johns Hopkins University has revealed China’s legislative attempts to reduce methane gas output has had “no discernible impact.” 

The decade long study used data from Japan’s Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) to monitor the methane and carbon dioxide outputs in the region. It found the country’s methane gas (CH4) output actually increased at a rate consistent with the previous decade. 

China remains the world’s number one user and producer of coal, with roughly 72 per cent of the country’s electricity being generated by coal. 

Legislation addressing their monstrous output was bought into effect in 2010, aimed at countering their CH4 drainage and utilisation. It required all mines to capture the CH4 for use as electricity or heating, or else to convert it into carbon dioxide in a process called “flaring”.

However, despite these tough governmental regulations, the study’s leader – Scot Miller of Johns Hopkins University – says China’s greenhouse gas output has continued to increase. 

“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,” Mr Miller told Psy.org, “but the numbers show that China’s methane regulations, in particular, have not had any detectable impact on their emissions.”

According to the study, China’s CMM output increased by roughly 1.1 teragrams per year. That amounts to a nearly 50 per cent increase for the country, and between 11 and 24 per cent for the planet as a whole.

“At least in terms of methane emissions,” Miller concluded, “China’s government is ‘talking the talk,’ but has not been able to ‘walk the walk’.” 

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