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Cutting methane emissions is the fastest way to slow warming in the near term and keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach. Methane plays an increasingly important role in China’s responses to climate change. This paper reviews a number of measures aimed at reducing its methane emissions China has adopted over the past few years and outlines significant opportunities remaining to maximize China’s climate mitigation impact.

By phasing out production and consumption of most ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) has avoided consequences of increased ultraviolet (UV) radiation and will restore stratospheric ozone to pre-1980 conditions by mid-century, assuming compliance with the phaseout. However, several studies have documented an unexpected increase in emissions and suggested unreported production of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) and potentially other ODSs after 2012 despite production phaseouts under the Montreal Protocol. Furthermore, because most ODSs are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs), there are significant climate protection benefits in collecting and destroying the substantial quantities of historically allowed production of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol that are contained in existing equipment and products and referred to as ODS “banks”. This technical note presents a framework for considering offsets to ozone depletion, climate forcing, and other environmental impacts arising from occurrences of unexpected emissions and unreported production of Montreal Protocol controlled substances, as recently experienced and likely to be experienced again. We also show how this methodology could be applied to the destruction of banks of controlled ODSs and GHGs or to halon or other production allowed under a Montreal Protocol Essential Use Exemption or Critical Use Exemption. Further, we roughly estimate the magnitude of offset each type of action could provide for ozone depletion, climate, and other environmental impacts that Montreal Protocol Parties agree warrant remedial action.

The IGSD Primer on Cutting Methane provides decision-makers with clarity on the science of methane mitigation and why action is urgently needed; current and emerging mitigation opportunities by sector; national, regional, and international efforts that can inform emergency global action on methane; and financing initiatives to secure support for fast methane reduction. This Methane Primer provides the scientific and policy rationale for decision-makers to achieve the “strong, rapid, and sustained” cuts to methane emissions necessary to slow global warming in the near term and limit the risk of triggering tipping points. The Methane Primer also supports the need for research and development of technologies to remove methane from the atmosphere at scale.