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Emissions Trading in China: Principles, Design Options and Lessons from International Practice

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  • Frank Jotzo

Abstract

China is considering a national emissions trading scheme, to follow several pilot schemes, as part of the suite of policies to reduce the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. A carbon tax or tax-like scheme could be an alternative. However there are special challenges in a fast-growing economy where the energy sector is heavily regulated. This paper analyses policy design options based on principles, China's circumstances, and Australian and European experiences. The main findings are the following. (1) Features such as variable permit supple, price floor/ceiling or a fixed permit price are desirable to provide a stable price signal, especially in China's case. A carbon tax can be a viable alternative or complement to emissions trading. (2) Any free permits or other assistance to industry should be carefully designed to preserve incentives to cut emissions, limited so that governments can use carbon revenue to support households or pay for other policy measures, and regularly reviewed to avoid lock-in of unnecessary payments. (3) Broad coverage of emissions pricing is necessary for effectiveness, including in electricity supply and demand. Carbon pricing can be partly effective in the electricity sector ahead of comprehensive energy sector reform, ultimately however market-based energy pricing is needed. (4) Carbon pricing should be seen in the broader context of economic policy reform. It offers opportunities to support broader goals of fiscal, energy and environmental policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Jotzo, 2013. "Emissions Trading in China: Principles, Design Options and Lessons from International Practice," CCEP Working Papers 1303, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:ccepwp:1303
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    File URL: http://ccep.anu.edu.au/data/2013/pdf/wpaper/CCEP1303.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How will China's carbon markets work in a non-market economy?
      by Alex Lo, Lecturer, Griffith School of Environment at Griffith University in The Conversation on 2013-11-27 01:07:43
    2. Emissions trading in China: Principles, design options and lessons from international practice
      by ? in Veille énergie climat on 2013-06-24 17:40:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Munnings, Clayton & Morgenstern, Richard D. & Wang, Zhongmin & Liu, Xu, 2016. "Assessing the design of three carbon trading pilot programs in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 688-699.
    2. Karplus, Valerie J. & Rausch, Sebastian & Zhang, Da, 2016. "Energy caps: Alternative climate policy instruments for China?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 422-431.
    3. Paul J. Burke, 2014. "Green Pricing in the Asia Pacific: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 561-575, September.
    4. Wang, Wen, 2015. "Intégrer l'agriculture dans les politiques d'atténuation chinoises," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/14999 edited by Perthuis, Christian de.
    5. Fei Teng & Frank Jotzo, 2014. "Reaping the Economic Benefits of Decarbonization for China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pages 37-54.
    6. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2015. "Crossing the river by feeling the stones: the case of carbon trading in China," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 17(2), pages 263-297, April.
    7. Munnings, Clayton & Morgenstern, Richard & Wang, Zhongmin & Liu, Xu, 2014. "Assessing the Design of Three Pilot Programs for Carbon Trading in China," Discussion Papers dp-14-36, Resources For the Future.
    8. Coraline Goron & Cyril Cassisa, 2017. "Regulatory Institutions and Market-Based Climate Policy in China," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 17(1), pages 99-120, February.
    9. Wu, Rui & Dai, Hancheng & Geng, Yong & Xie, Yang & Masui, Toshihiko & Tian, Xu, 2016. "Achieving China’s INDC through carbon cap-and-trade: Insights from Shanghai," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 1114-1122.
    10. Mo, Jian-Lei & Schleich, Joachim & Zhu, Lei & Fan, Ying, 2015. "Delaying the introduction of emissions trading systems—Implications for power plant investment and operation from a multi-stage decision model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 255-264.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Instrument China; emissions trading; carbon tax;

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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