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China to lead in emissions trading

China has been hit by heavy weather events during the past years and is determined to use emissions trading as major weapon to reduce its soaring Greenhouse gas emissions.

Although the country’s historic carbon footprint is still far below that of earlier industrialized nations (see below table), its absolute emissions are rising fast and the government thus designated 7 pilot regions to prepare for emissions trading from 2015 onwards with the aim to have a nationally integrated system able to link to other nations by 2020.

One of them is Shanghai, covering to date about 200 companies from 16 industries such as power, iron, petrochemical, nonferrous metals, aviation, shipping and hotels. The total carbon dioxide of the 200 companies is estimated to about 110 million tons, which is nearly half of the total emissions in Shanghai city.

Another pilot region is Guangdong, China’s most developed province. 827 companies with annual emissions of more than 20,000 tCO2 are included in the pilot scheme, such as power, cement, iron and steel, ceramics, petrochemical, textile, nonferrous metals, paper and plastics. These companies account for more than 40% of the power used in the province and some 280 million tons of CO2.
Country Metric tonnes CO2per person
United States 1133
United Kingdom 1128
Germany 999
Canada 789
Russian Federation 677
Ukraine 556
France 515
Japan 367
China 85
India 27

– Shanghai and Guangdong together add up to close to 400 million tons of CO2, about one fifth of the emissions covered in the EU ETS, says Shuyong Sun, Tricorona’s China Technical Director. China plans to open five more regional emissions-trading schemes this year, in Hubei province and the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Shenzhen. Their respective emission reduction goals are all above the national average of 17% decrease of unit GDP based on 2010 from 2011-2015. An experienced trading sector, strong enforcement measures and transparent monitoring, reporting and verification rules are needed for companies to use trade and offsets efficiently. That is the top priority for the government besides ensuring economic growth.

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