The government is determined to work with global partners to
turn the demanding task of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
into lucrative business opportunities, a senior official said
Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of the National Development and
Reform Commission, said the country has already forged close
partnerships with some developed countries for trading carbon
dioxide and methane, the two major GHGs causing global warming.
"China faces arduous tasks in dealing with climate change but
the potential for reducing greenhouse gases is tremendous; and so
are business opportunities," said Xie, who is also the deputy
director of the National Leading Group of Work Responding to
Xie's optimism stems from the fact that nearly half the
country's coal mines have a high concentration of methane - most of
it discharged as part of mine safety.
"But if technology, capital and environmental protection
awareness are combined, we can make coal cleaner, reduce methane
emissions and let methane serve as an alternative energy source,"
Xie told China Daily prior to the Methane to Markets
Partnership Conference and Expo which opened yesterday in Beijing
with more than 600 participants from 30 countries.
The three-day conference is an important component of the
Methane to Markets Partnership, an international initiative
launched in 2004. It is aimed at offering cost-effective
technologies and information to improve methane recovery and use as
a clean energy. About 20 countries, including China and the United
States, have joined the partnership.
Methane is a potent GHG, 23 times more powerful than carbon
dioxide, accounting for 16 percent of global GHG emissions from a
variety of sources.
John Beale, deputy assistant administrator of the US
Environmental Protection Administration, said nine of the top 10
methane-emitting countries have joined the partnership.
"We look forward to continuing to grow the partnership and
several other countries have shown interest," said Beale.
To turn more emissions into alternative energy, Xie called for a
stronger international partnership to remove technological and
capital barriers that prevent the reduction of methane
Huang Shengchu, president of the China Coal Information
Institute, said the recovery of coal bed methane, which can greatly
prevent coal mine accidents, can be quickly developed into a
Annual coal bed methane emissions in China stand at 15 billion
cubic meters as coal output has been increasing. In comparison,
only about 3.2 billion cubic meters was vented from coal mine
drainage systems last year. "In the past, we released methane for
work safety consideration; now, we recover the gas for purposes of
safety, resources and environmental protection," said Huang.
(China Daily October 31, 2007)