China launches first phase of national ETS

Chinese government on Tuesday (Dec.19) released details about the start of the long-awaited national carbon trading scheme, Reuters reports. Once operational, China’s ETS will be the world’s largest carbon trading system and was planned to start by the end of this year.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is the government agency overseeing the nationwide carbon market and the operation of the regional ETS.

According to Reuters, NDRC officials on Tuesday announced the launch of the scheme’s first phase, that will be limited to the power sector and will cover 1,700 power companies and over 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. According to the original plan, the national ETS will cover the other industrial sectors such as iron and steel, chemicals, cement.

NDRC said China is not considering linking its ETS with other countries at this stage, adding it will also take time to have a national carbon price.

The beginning of the Chinese ETS has been welcomed by several climate advocates and analysts.

“With the top global polluter enacting policies to support the Paris Agreement and transition to a low carbon economy, it is clear that we’re at a tipping point in the climate crisis,” said former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

“The launch of the Chinese carbon market shows that there is increased commitment around the world to price pollution and direct investments into clean technologies”, policy director at Carbon Market Watch, Femke de Jong, commented. “Transparency and public participation will be key to making the Chinese scheme a success in the coming years”.


(Image: Air pollution in Anyang City, Henan Province, China, Jan. 2015. Photo credit: V.T. Polywoda on Flickr)