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China, US pledge joint methane action at climate talks

  • : Coal, Crude oil, Petrochemicals
  • 24/05/13

The US and China have pledged to further co-operate on methane reduction, among other topics, following a first meeting between the countries' new climate envoys in Washington during 8-9 May.

The meeting follows video conferencing between the two sides in January under their "working group on enhancing climate action in the 2020s" initiative. China and the US reaffirmed their 2021 agreement to co-operate on reducing carbon emissions in the power generation sector, cutting methane emissions and boosting renewable energy in the "Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis" last November in San Francisco.

China confirmed the appointment of Liu Zhenmin to replace Xie Zhenhua as the country's climate advsior in January. Liu's US counterpart John Podesta replaced John Kerry in January. Liu and Podesta discussed co-operation "on multilateral issues related to promoting a successful COP 29 in Baku, Azerbaijan" at the latest talks, the US state department said on 10 May. They also discussed issues identified in the Sunnylands statement, including energy transition, methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases, the circular economy and resource efficiency, deforestation,as well as low-carbon and sustainable provinces, states and cities.

They plan to co-host a second event on reducing methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases in Baku and "conduct capacity building on deploying abatement technologies". It remains to be seen how the two new climate advisors will bring the two countries closer in climate negotiations. The Sunnylands statement and the close relationship of their predecessors were instrumental in bringing consensus at last year's Cop 28 UN climate summit in Dubai.

China released a much anticipated methane plan last November, although Xie has flagged challenges with data monitoring in the sector. But China and the US have agreed to develop and improve monitoring to "achieve significant methane emissions control and reductions in the 2020s".

China has also not signed on to the Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by 30pc by 2030, from 2020 levels. The country's emissions may also rise more than expected after it redefined its meaning of energy intensity, according to the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

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