BEIJING, April 30 China is developing plans to
expand its pilot carbon trading schemes into more of its key
industrial regions, a top climate official said, as the country
continues its drive to curb emissions.
China, the world's biggest emitter of climate-changing
gases, has over the past 10 months launched pilot carbon markets
in six cities and provinces with a view to rolling out a
national market later in the decade.
But the government is already looking at plans to scale up
the regional schemes, Su Wei, a senior climate official with the
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was cited as
saying by state radio.
Su did not specify a timeline, but such steps would
significantly broaden the reach of China's greenhouse gas
regulations and bolster its role as the world's second biggest
hub for emissions trading after the European Union.
The northern cities of Beijing and Tianjin currently operate
separate carbon markets, but according to Su these could be
Hebei, a steel-producing province that is one of China's
biggest polluters, could be added to the market along with the
provinces of Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, Su said.
In the Yangtze River Delta, manufacturing hubs Jiangsu and
Zhejiang could join Shanghai's CO2 market, while in the south,
Guangxi, Hainan and other regions could link up to the Guangdong
emissions trading scheme.
However, Su did not mention whether such expansions would be
mandatory. A number of cities in eastern China, such as Hangzhou
and Suzhou, have announced plans to set up their own CO2
The three regions identified by Su account for the majority
of China's greenhouse gas emissions and have been banned by the
central government from building new coal-fired power plants.
The country's worsening air quality has been near the top of
the list of concerns of China's leaders, anxious to douse
potential unrest as a more affluent urban population turns
against a growth-at-all-costs economic model.
China has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per
unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and is
weighing options for a longer-term target to bring into U.N.-led
Officials have said they aim to finalise a first draft plan
for a national emissions market in October, but it remains
unclear when it could be introduced.
(Reporting by Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev; Editing by Joseph