China, one of the world’s biggest emitters has unveiled world’s biggest mechanism to reduce carbon in the form of carbon market in a bid to avert climate change.
Preceding the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, premier Xi Jinping announced his country’s plan to launch a carbon market in two years.
On Tuesday, China delivered on the promise, unveiling what will become the world’s largest carbon market.
What is carbon market?
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change defines carbon market as “a trading system through which countries may buy or sell units of greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to meet their national limits on emissions, either under the Kyoto Protocol or under other agreements, such as that among member states of the European Union.”
Usually, to implement this scheme, after considering several factors including the type of industry it belongs to, governments set a cap on a company’s emission goals.
At the beginning the cap is merely a ‘start’. In the consequent years, it (the cap) can be reduced gradually to help a country reach its emission goals.
The reward comes when a company beats the set targets. The said company can then sell any additional “saved” carbon emissions to other companies that have not met the target yet. By buying the “saved” emissions the buying company is able to artificially reach the target goals as well.
Quoting FT, Quartz observed the number of Chinese companies implementing or planning to join the set carbon trading plan rose from 54 in 2015 to 102 in 2017. The number is out 336 companies that responded to the environmental charity CDP questionnaire.
Ironically, the day China was inaugurating its new climate plan, over seven thousand miles away, US president Donald Trump signed the country’s National Security Strategy omitting climate change entirely. With the document, the US tells the world that it doesn’t recognize climate change as a real threat.
Today, China is at the forefront driving actions against climate change after the US pulled out of the Paris Climate agreement, a position formally played by the US.
Steam and smoke rise from the cooling towers and chimneys of a power plant in Juliette, Georgia.
Image: ROBB KENDRICK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE