China tells firms to start reporting carbon emissions

BEIJING, March 18 Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:56am EDT

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BEIJING, March 18 (Reuters) - Thousands of companies across China must start reporting their greenhouse gas emissions under a government plan to build a nationwide emissions database ahead of launching a national carbon market.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning agency, said in a note on its website that all companies that emitted more than 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2010 must report their future annual emissions of all six major greenhouse gases.

"The reporting is to tighten the control over major emitters, provide statistics for capping greenhouse gas emissions and launch a carbon trading scheme," the note said.

The lack of credible emissions data is among the key challenges in building a national market, because imposing facility-level carbon caps is difficult if no one knows how much each power plant or factory emits.

It did not specify when mandatory reporting would begin, but analysts told Reuters they expected the rule to enter into force from 2015.

China is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, blamed by scientists for causing global warming, but has pledged to cut emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Carbon trading is Beijing's main policy to cut emissions. It is launching pilot carbon markets in seven cities and provinces to prepare for the launch of a national market later in the decade, expected some time between 2017 and 2020.

Experts said a nationwide emissions database would also be useful in evaluating other policies, such as a potential tax on carbon emissions.

"Knowing the potential and cost for companies to mitigate would help to evaluate the effects," Song Ranping at the World Resources Institute in beijing told Reuters.

The NDRC did not specify a plan for how and when appropriate monitoring equipment would be installed across the many thousands of facilities in China covered by the new rule.

Some experts said installing equipment and verifying the data could be major challenges for many, especially in the nation's underdeveloped western region. (Reporting by Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev; Editing by Anand Basu)

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