China paves way for carbon market

The Chinese government has released a new set of regulations for the country's emerging carbon market, potentially laying the foundations for the development of a national carbon market.

Green NGO The Climate Group reported that China's influential National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) has this month released a new document entitled The Interim Regulation of Voluntary Greenhouse Gases Emission Trading in China.

The rules, which are intended to govern those provinces currently pursuing trial carbon offsetting and emissions cap-and-trade schemes, set out a series of standards regional governments must follow as they roll out carbon trading mechanisms.

"Chinese voluntary GHG [greenhouse gas] emission trading should be practised in the principles of openness, fairness, impartiality and good faith," the regulations state. "The GHG emission reductions shall come from specific projects and be real, measurable, and additional."

Specifically, the new rules promote a series of standardised methodologies for measuring emission reductions delivered through carbon trading mechanisms, including proposals on how to "set up the baseline, to demonstrate the additionality, to calculate the emission reductions, to make the measurement plan, etc."

It also details how all emission reductions delivered through voluntary carbon markets must be recorded by the NDRC and independently validated by qualified validation organizations that have been approved by the commission.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said the new regulation marked "a significant step forward" for China's plans to develop a domestic carbon market."

"It sets clear guidelines and requirements of the technical and institutional elements when domestic voluntary carbon market is concerned," she added. "While still at a very early stage, today China is on the right track towards a nationwide compulsory carbon market by establishing the infrastructure, technical guidelines, as well as institutional structure needed to accelerate progress."

The move comes as a host of cities and provinces across China prepare to launch carbon trading schemes, loosely modelled on the EU's emissions trading scheme, that are expected to impose a carbon price on emissions-intensive businesses and drive investment in low-carbon technologies.

The plans are being watched closely by other governments who would regard the emergence of a Chinese carbon pricing mechanism as a huge boost to both the global green economy and international climate change negotiations.

Photo of scale pan with money and coal courtesy of Voyagerix via Shutterstock.

This article is reprinted with permission from BusinessGreen.