by Daniel J. Graeber
Beijing (UPI) Jan 2, 2015
The world's largest facility meant to turn methane gas from coal mines into electricity is running in China's Shanxi province, the project leader said Friday.
China's Lu'an Group, owner of the Gaohe coal mine in the eastern province, said a 30-megawatt generator was now working to utilize 99 percent of the methane gas emitted from the mine.
China gets more than half of its energy needs met by coal power, though the country has started an ambitious effort to advance a low-carbon economy.
Coal mines in China emit more than 350 billion cubic feet of methane gas, a harmful greenhouse gas, every year. Mines are under pressure to curb their emissions as part of government reforms.
Chinese President Xi Jinping joined U.S. President Barack Obama in late 2014 to issue a joint declaration on the shared need to address climate issues. Obama said during a November meeting with the Chinese president "nobody gets a pass" on joining the fight against climate change.
A 2012 report from the International Energy Agency finds the expanding Chinese economy is facing unique environmental challenges as it continues to rely on fossil fuels to meet its growing energy demands. China's efforts to find abate the climate effects of economic growth were described by the IEA as ambitious.
Carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product in China are down nearly 30 percent from their 2005 levels.
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