China wants to establish a nation-wide trading system for pollution permits

China will look into establishing a nation-wide trading system for pollution permits. China is the most polluted country in the world and, for that reason, the Government is making efforts in order to solve this problem.  

Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection, said China was working on new regulations for pollution permits and would also publish proposals for new pilot trading projects. So, China is hoping to use the market to encourage firms to cut emissions.

China already has more than 20 local trading platforms that allow industrial firms to buy and sell permits for pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, major constituents of smog and acid rain. But their impact has been limited. “Emission trading in China is not strictly a market activity and it is more like paying for emitting. It is just a few regions running some test trading,” told Ma Zhon, the dean of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Renmin University.

Five cities and regions set up new pilot carbon trading platforms last year to encourage local enterprises to address soaring greenhouse gas emissions and two more will be launched in 2014. The seven pilot carbon trading platforms signed an agreement with other environmental exchanges to look into trading not only carbon credits but also pollution, water and energy use permits.

Environment minister Zhou said China planned to cut major pollutants like sulphur dioxide and ammonium nitrate by 2 percent over 2014. Nitrogen oxides would be slashed by 5 percent.

China said late last year that it was struggling to meet environmental targets for the 2011-2015 period, with energy and carbon intensity targets still behind schedule.

Nitrogen oxide emissions, expected to fall 10 percent over the 2011-2015 period, actually rose 2.82 percent by the end of 2012. Zhou said the total amount was expected to have fallen by more than 3.5 percent last year.

 

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