China is getting closer to launching the world;s biggest carbon-trading market, Caixin reports. The launch of a national “cap and trade” system will play an important role in China’s battle against choking air pollution. It’s not yet clear when the scheme, which is currently operating on a trial basis, will be expanded. But when it does, China will overtake the European Union as home to the world’s largest carbon market in terms of total volume of carbon traded.
The National Development and Reform Commission – the country’s top economic planning body – laid out a detailed road map for building a nationwide carbon-trading system Tuesday. At first it will cover 1,700 power plants, but will be expanded to more industries, the commission said. President Xi Jinping has previously pledged to get a carbon-trading system up and running before the end of 2017.
Power plants that discharge more than 26,000 tons of carbon annually will qualify to be in the trading system, the NDRC said. This means that the cap-and-trade market will cover almost all the country’s power generators and more than 3 billion metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions per year.