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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs