Letters

China must lead on emissions trading

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Science  15 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6356, pp. 1106-1107
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap7960

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  • RE: Urgent to build domestic aviation emissions trading scheme in China
    • Qiang Cui, School of Economics and Management, Southeast University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Ye Li, School of Business Administration, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics

    In recent years, China’s aviation carbon emissions of domestic routes have increased rapidly. We sorted the statistical data of Civil Aviation Administration of China (1, 2) and found that China’s CO2 emissions of domestic routes in 2017 were about 64,470 thousand tons, increased by 173% from 2007. Furthermore, the CO2 emissions of domestic routes accounted for more than 60% of the total emissions of Chinese airlines. Our compiled data revealed that the total domestic CO2 emissions of the three major Chinese airlines (Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines) in 2017 were about 40,219.36 thousand tons, increased by 73.4% from 2007 (3).
    At present, China has established emissions trading schemes for some industries, but there is no scheme for aviation industry (4). Some aviation emissions trading schemes have been constructed in the world, such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the "Carbon Neutral Growth from 2020" strategy (CNG2020 strategy). However, the EU ETS focuses on the carbon emissions of routes within the EU (5), and the CNG2020 strategy pays attentions to the carbon emissions of international flights (6, 7), so the domestic carbon emissions of Chinese airlines are not covered by these two schemes. Therefore, it is extremely urgent to build emissions trading scheme for China's aviation industry.
    In order to build it, aviation administration department should count the historical carbon emissions and for...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: China must lead on emissions trading
    • Yongping Sun, Deputy Director, 1Center of Hubei Cooperative Innovation for Emissions Trading System, Hubei University of Economics, Wuhan, Hubei, 430205, China
    • Other Contributors:
      • James Laurenceson, Director, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia
      • Xunpeng (Roc) Shi, Corresponding author/Principal Research Fellow, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia

    China ETS needs prudent implementation

    Global efforts to combat climate change need a boost and there is no better candidate than China, which launched its national Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) on 19 December 2017. While covering just the power sector, China’s ETS is still the world’s largest carbon market, twice the size of the European Union’s.
    With the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and Europe’s economic malaise seeing its carbon price collapses, China is considered to be the only realistic alternative leader in global climate governance (“China can lead on climate change,” C. Wang and F. Wang, Letters, 25 August 2017, p. 764). It is being courted abroad to take on the role (‘China must lead on emissions trading’, P. Dargusch, Letters, Letters, 15 Sep 2017, pp. 1106-1107). To assert effective leadership, China must establish a carbon price sufficiently high to promote investment in clean and low carbon technologies [2]. There is also a demand for China’s actions to be transparent and independent from ‘diplomatic brinkmanship’ (‘China must lead on emissions trading’, P. Dargusch, Letters, Letters, 15 Sep 2017, pp. 1106-1107).
    The demand, however, may put over burden on China, which faces unprecedented challenges. Rising electricity prices due to the ETS will shock the struggling Chinese economy. Carbon leakage as companies move elsewhere to avoid the carbon prices will also test China’s determination. Unbalanced and ina...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.