China launches its carbon market on February 1

China launches its carbon market on February 1

Violet Field inPlanetJan 23, 2021 2 min read2 views

China emits nearly a third of the world's greenhouse gases each year

China will launch its polluting rights market on February 1, eagerly awaited by environmentalists when the world's largest polluter has promised to achieve carbon neutrality in 2060. The Ministry of the Environment published in early January a regulation authorizing the provinces to set greenhouse gas emission quotas for thermal power stations. Energy companies will thus be able to exchange rights to pollute. The objective of the system is to reduce polluting emissions via a gradual increase in the price of CO2.

"This is one of the best news for the world's largest carbon market," said Zhang Jianyu, vice president for China of the US environmental association Environmental Defense Fund. President Xi Jinping drew applause at the end of 2020 by announcing that his country would start to reduce its polluting emissions before 2030, to achieve carbon neutrality thirty years later, that is to say, to absorb as much as to issue some.

The land of 2,000 coal-fired power stations

For the time being, the country is still largely fueled by coal, one of the most harmful energies for the environment. Chinese power plants are 60% coal-fired, and experts expect this powerful lobby group to push for comfortable allowances - and therefore a low carbon price. Under the new rules, the roughly 2,000 power plants that emit more than 26,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year will be able to start trading their rights to pollute from February 1.


This national system should eclipse that set up in 2005 in the European Union to become the first in the world. China emitted nearly 14 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2019 or 29% of the global total. Once at full speed, the new system is expected to cover one-third of carbon dioxide emissions in China, according to the International Carbon Action Partnership. It was not immediately clear whether or not Beijing was considering expanding the device beyond the power generation sector.