China Seeks Pollution Cut With National Carbon Market

China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, plans to start a national market for carbon trading by 2016 as it seeks to balance pollution reduction with economic growth.

“We’ve brought forward this plan because it’s been prioritized in the central government’s economic reforms,” Wang Shu, an official with the climate division of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top planning agency, said by phone, confirming an earlier statement from Sun Cuihua, a senior climate official with the agency. “The central government is pushing reforms, so everything is speeding up.”

In preparation for the national market, China has selected seven cities and provinces, including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong, to set regional caps and institute pilot programs for trading rights as part of its initiative to cut the intensity of emissions by as much as 45 percent before 2020 from 2005 levels. The exchange in the southern city of Shenzhen near Hong Kong will allow foreigners to trade carbon permits.

The carbon platform in Beijing, China’s capital, includes 490 companies and covers 40 percent of the city’s total emissions, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, which cited the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform. Under the platform, companies that produce more than their limit of emissions can buy allowances from those that emit less.

— With assistance by Helen Yuan

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