Features and prospect of China’s national GHG emissions trading scheme

In Carbon Management
Volume (Issue): 11(2)
Peer-reviewed Article
China announced the launch of a national emissions trading scheme (ETS) in December 2017 for the regulation of its carbon dioxides emissions. In emissions trading, China is likely to encounter issues different from those encountered by the European Union and other developed countries. This study first identifies the contextual factors that influence the design of China’s national ETS and affect its performance. After an overview of the design of China’s national ETS, this study focuses on two key features: (1) ex-post adjustment of the initial allowance allocation in proportion to the actual output levels, and (2) treatment of the power sector. Finally, the study analyzes the interaction between China’s national ETS and some overlapping policies such as those on air pollution control. The study’s key findings are that China’s ETS cannot fully achieve cost-effectiveness because of its design, the price behavior of China’s ETS will be different from that of a cap-and-trade ETS, and overlap-ping policies such as the command-and-control regulations for energy conservation and/or air quality improvement will decrease the demand for allowances and limit the opportunity for allowance trading. These findings are based on existing theoretical studies and relevant global ETS experience.