As the United States still spins its wheels on enacting climate legislation that would set a price on carbon–with John Kerry just saying the chances of a bill passing right now are very tough–an article in China Daily may be an indication that China may beat the US to setting up a national carbon trading system. In fact, according to reports from inside closed-door meetings about China’s next five-year plan, the nation will set up a mandatory domestic carbon trading program by 2015.
According to an insider speaking to China Daily on condition of anonymity, the carbon trading program is needed to help the nation meet its 2020 carbon intensity target, but “a debate is still ongoing among experts and industries regarding what approach should be adopted.”
Apparently the debate is essentially similar to the one occurring in the US: Should the system start with just selected industries, should absolute caps on emissions for certain industries be imposed, should the country’s existing carbon intensity reduction targets be converted into a carbon-related allowances for certain industries.
One key thing not under debate is that the system be entirely self-imposed and not linked to international negotiations on a future global climate change agreement.
Despite recent data showing that the nation is now the world’s largest carbon emitter, the world’s largest consumer of energy, and has per capita emissions greater than those of France, China steadfastly maintains its position that it is a developing nation, not bound under UNFCCC principles to make legally binding emission reduction commitments.