9 June 2017

China carbon market to launch as early as November

According to reports, China will launch its nationwide carbon emissions trading system by November at the "very earliest."

A government researcher told Reuters on Tuesday 6 June that the nationwide emissions trading platform – which forms part of the nation’s Paris Agreement commitments – will be launched later this year.

The world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases has already launched total of seven pilot regional emission trading schemes (ETS), which compel businesses to purchase permits to cover their emissions.

The national ETS planned for later this year will be an integrated national trading system, covering up to 10,000 firms in sectors from iron and steel to petrochemicals and papermaking.

The market was originally expected to launch in the first half of this year, but regulators have encountered a number of challenges.

According to reports, market designers are struggling to build a reliable and fair statistical system that covers all firms.

Reuters reported that the launch was also being held back by gaps in legislation as well as incomplete data in sectors like papermaking.

The government researcher also stated that there was not yet a strong consensus on how carbon emission quotas should be allocated.

However, officials with the at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which regulates China's carbon market, have stated progress on the national exchange was still going smoothly and remained on schedule to launch in 2017.

Xie Ji, Director General of the Climate Change Department at the NDRC, said the launch was likely to include only the sectors that currently have strong statistical foundations.

Zhang Xiliang, Director at the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy at Tsinghua University, said: "We are still actively preparing for the launch and are confident that it will be launched in the next few months.”

The news follows the announcement that China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the government of California have signed an agreement to work together on combating climate change and reducing emissions.

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