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: 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.