Concrete emissions trade legislation urged

08:41, September 13, 2010      

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By Li Woke

China needs to legislate emissions trading as part of an overall effort to help the nation achieve its sustainable development goals, experts said ahead of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.

"China should legislate or enact policies on the cap-and-trade system," said Wu Changhua, China director of the Climate Group (CG), a London-based non-governmental organization. "(Otherwise), with the lack of international (collaboration in this area), China is (merely) trying or testing carbon emissions trading."

Emissions trading, or cap-and-trade, is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. International emissions trading, which was first recognized in the Kyoto Protocol and adopted in 1997 as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will expire after 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol also raised the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), under which industrialized countries could offset their emissions by investing in low-carbon projects in, or buying carbon credits from, developing countries like China and India, rather than cutting their own emissions.

Environmental critics say rich nations could be wasting billions of dollars on carbon finance because some of the largest projects funded by the CDM are a golden goose for chemical makers that fail to make meaningful emission cuts.

By the end of 2010, $150 billion will be traded in global carbon markets, including one third of that amount in China. So far, China has established around 20 carbon trading markets, allowing companies to trade greenhouse gas emission credits, such as carbon dioxide.

The failure to extend or replace the treaty in Copenhagen last year has raised questions about emissions trading's future after 2012. "Despite the international protocol shortage, China must have a solid commitment after 2020 on cap-and-trade," Wu said. "Building up incentives ... on pollutant emissions and waste-control technologies is feasible for the country."

In addition, experts suggest the Chinese government also offer tax incentives, subsidies or other preferential policies as well as increase investment in technological research to ensure a successful transition from a traditional economy to a low-carbon economy.

Source: Global Times


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