News / Asia

    Despite Pollution Worries, China Experiments with Carbon Trading

    Shannon Van Sant
    As China scrambles to respond to the choking smog that has blanketed Beijing in recent weeks, authorities in several major cities are experimenting with carbon trading platforms. The schemes are one effort to get control over greenhouse gases in an economy still hungry for cheap energy.

    Beijing’s smoggy days are literally off the charts, with small airborne particles that reduce visibility and threaten health.

    It has been a persistent concern in recent years, but spiking pollution levels in January are sparking a public outcry.

    Emissions from coal-fired electricity plants and busy factories are part of the problem that officials hope to get control over through carbon trading platforms.

    Seven cities are expected to open carbon markets later this year, including Tianjin. 

    “The government has decided to start with pilots [programs] because the carbon trading is something new to China," said David Tang, secretary of the board of the Tianjin Carbon Exchange.  "So we want to have a number of pilots to explore the use of the market.  And, on the basis of the experience gained create a national market for this instrument,” said Tang.

    China wants to launch a national carbon trading program by 2016.  If it is successful, analysts say, the program would be one of the largest in the world and would help the country meet its target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent, within seven years.  

    The platforms allow companies to earn credits for lowering greenhouse gas emissions, which can then be traded.  If it works, it would encourage for-profit businesses to invest in green technology.    

    Kevin Tu is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and head of the China Energy and Climate Program.

    “They need to do more to replace coal use by other types of energy carriers, such as nuclear, hydro, national gas," he added. "And, in the longer future, renewable should be the way for the country to move forward in energy development.”

    Although carbon trading in the country’s booming economy could be a windfall for the still-struggling global emissions markets, critics say government intervention, state ownership of companies and lack of transparency pose big hurdles to its success.

    As public concern builds pressure for the government to find a solution, Wu Changhua, greater China director of the Climate Group, says there is a broad shift under way in how Chinese weigh their quality of life.

    “The public basically started to realize it's not jobs, I want to have better environment quality there as well,” he said.

    China has long put economic growth ahead of environmental concerns, making it the world’s biggest polluter. Carbon trading supporters hope that the markets could be one way to curb pollution and keep the economy growing.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, canada
    February 06, 2013 5:41 PM
    Carbon trading is a fantasy, dreamed out by financial people, to make sure they have more parasitic jobs. The sources of pollution must be dealt at the product design and at the production facilities, to ensure clean inputs are used, and production processes actually capture all the pollutants, before they are allowed to exist the production processes; and I am not just talking about machinery producers. The other aspect is to re-forest/regreen all the areas that do not have appropriate forests/shrubbs, to capture CO2 and increase the production of O2. Carbon trading is the new scheme for continuing to pollute the globe....
    In Response

    by: Tmissions from: Tibetan spiritual
    February 09, 2013 9:01 AM
    Tibetan spiritual : advocating the truth , and the consummation of wisdom, a satisfactory compassion

    . Unyielding from power and repression from slavery , indomitable , unyielding new militarism .

    by: HIroshi Nishida from: Osaka, Japan
    February 03, 2013 6:32 AM
    A headache problem: toxic particles coming from China.

    Severe air pollution in China is famous in the international community. However, this is not mere Chinese domestic problem. The toxic particles which caused death of Chinese people are coming from the continent to Japan. Air pollution in China is due to the aggressive policy to develop the Chinese economy. Furthermore, ineffective and sloppy regulations worsen the situation. In the past, Japan had the trouble of the same problems, but there were a few technological solutions for the environmental pollution. Therefore, it took a long time to overcome those obstacles. However, theses days, various excellent and effective technologies have been available. Hence, developing nations are now under an idealistic condition to tackle the problems of environmental pollution compared to the situation in Japan facing forty years ago.

    It is indifference of Chinese government that cause today’s serious air pollution containing hazardous particles, which are drifting toward Japanese territory. We strongly propose the sincere attitude of the Chinese government to apply effective measures against exportation of toxic particles.

    See http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130203-00000004-asahi-soci.view-000#contents-body

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora