Research and Publications
Methane is the second largest greenhouse gas (GHG) after carbon dioxide (CO2). The global warming potential of methane is around 84-87 times greater than that of CO2 in a 20-year period, and 28-36 times higher than that of CO2 over a 100-year time frame. Methane is also the second largest greenhouse gas in China. In 2014, methane took up 10.4% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The energy sector is one of the largest anthropogenic sources of methane emissions in China, accounting for 45% of the total methane emissions.
An accurate methane inventory can provide policy makers with the bases for planning mitigation targets and developing mitigation policies. Focusing on China's energy-related methane emissions, this report compares the differences between China and the international framework in inventory accounting, reporting and valuation, and hopes to improve the integrity and accuracy of methane inventory compilation and promote methane reduction in the energy sector.
China is the largest coal producer in the world. In 2018, China accounted for 46% of the world’s total coal production. China is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas imports. In 2018, more than 70% of oil and 45% of gas in China are imported. Energy-related fugitive methane emissions in China mainly come from the coal industry and oil and gas sector, of which coal industry emissions account for more than 38% of the total methane emissions, and the oil and gas sector accounted for 2%. Historical data shows that fugitive methane emissions from coal industry have declined significantly since 2012, while methane leaks from oil and gas sector have kept rising.
With importance attached to coal mining fugitive emissions in recent years, China has established monitoring data for many mines, and the quality of coal mining fugitive emissions data has been significantly improved. In contrast, the emission sources covered by the methane inventory in the oil and gas industry are still incomplete, and the accuracy of the emission factors needs to be improved. China’s research in this field is relatively lacking. Oil and gas companies have not yet systematically carried out methane emission and leakage measurement, making it difficult to get device-level data to support the national inventory compilation.
After 2020, China will be obliged to submit biennial reports and national GHG inventories of consecutive years, which are to be sent also for international expert review and promotional multilateral reviews. In order to improve the quality and efficiency of inventory compilation, it is necessary to establish regular arrangement (including financial arrangement), and enhance related research, database and methodology for the national inventory preparation as soon as possible.