China and US agree on cooperation on methane emissions reductions
Published: May 11, 2024 06:24 PM Updated: May 11, 2024 09:00 PM
China US Photo:VCG

China US Photo:VCG

China and the US agreed on climate change cooperation including deploying emission reduction technologies for methane emissions control and reductions, following talks between China's special envoy for climate change Liu Zhenmin and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Podesta in the US. 

The in-depth discussions focused on fields including energy transition, methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases, the circular economy, resource efficiency, deforestation, in addition to low-carbon and sustainable provinces, states and cities, as well as cooperating on multilateral issues related to promoting a successful COP 29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.  

The two sides also shared their experiences in climate policy and related actions. 

Climate change is different from issues such as decoupling in trade and competition between major powers. It is a global issue first and foremost, and China and the US are already operating within different levels within a common framework. Bilateral cooperation is of great significant to global climate governance, Yu Hongyuan, director of the Institute for Comparative Politics and Public Policy at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times. 

China and France recently also issued a joint declaration on marine biodiversity, including  cooperation on climate change. It highlights the significant global impact of cooperation between China and other countries in the field of environmental and climate governance, according Yu.

In detail, after their meeting the two sides committed to promoting bilateral cooperation and conduct capacity building related to deploying emission reduction technologies, as well as developing and improving respective MRV systems and standards aiming to achieve significant methane emissions control and reductions in the 2020s.  

The two sides intend to host the second "Methane and Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases Summit" during COP 29.  

Collaboration beyond carbon dioxide, methane and other aspects have become increasingly prominent , which is also a growth point for future emerging technologies. The agreement in this area is expected to be the new bright spots in upcoming practical cooperation among local governments, enterprises, and localities between China and the US in the future, Yu noted. 

In addressing prospects on deployment of emission reduction technologies, Sun Shao, a senior researcher at Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, told the Global Times that China and the US can jointly research and promote relevant technologies, including but not limited to new energy technologies, carbon capture and storage technologies.

The establishment or improvement of MRV systems - referring to monitoring, reporting, and verification - would benefit the transparency and credibility of methane emission reduction actions, Sun noted. 

Both sides also noted with interest the Methane Alert and Response System used by the UNEP International Methane Emissions Observatory.  They will also engage in technical cooperation and capacity-building for measurement and emission reduction solutions of other non-CO2 greenhouse gases, including industrial N2O as well as tropospheric ozone precursors.

On methane reduction, Sun believes that China and the US are able to jointly formulate and implement control and reduction targets for methane emissions, as well as respond to alerts issued by the methane emissions observatory.

Both sides look forward to the US-China High-Level Event on Subnational Climate Action, to be held May 29-30, in Berkeley. 

Since the visiting working group led by Liu has not yet ended, observers expected that more achievements linked to bilateral cooperation would be announced. 

"China will have many practical or substantial development projects in collaboration with the US. In the field of emission reduction, there may be discussions on the transfer of technology to developing countries," Yu said. 

Climate change involves specific areas of competition between the two countries, such as renewable energy, clean energy, and green finance. Maintaining a cooperative attitude in addressing climate change is crucial for further promoting cooperation in other areas, Yu emphasized.