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Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones: The Case of Carbon Trading in China

Author

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  • ZhongXiang Zhang

    (College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin and School of Economics, Fudan University, Shanghai (China))

Abstract

Putting a price on carbon is considered a crucial step for China’s endeavor of harnessing the market forces to reduce its energy consumption and carbon emissions. Indeed, aligned with China’s grand experiment with low-carbon provinces and low-carbon cities in six provinces and thirty-six cities, the Chinese central government has approved the seven pilot carbon trading schemes. These pilot trading schemes have features in common, but vary considerably in their approach to issues such as the coverage of sectors, allocation of allowances, price uncertainty and market stabilization, potential market power of dominated players, use of offsets, and enforcement and compliance. This article explains why China turns to market forces and opts for emissions trading, rather than carbon or environmental taxes at least initially, discusses the five pilot trading schemes that have to comply with their emissions obligations by June 2014, and examines a wide range of design, implementation, enforcement and compliance issues related to China’s carbon trading pilots and their first-year performance. The article ends with drawing some lessons learned and discussing the options to evolve regional pilot carbon trading schemes into a nationwide carbon trading scheme.

Suggested Citation

  • ZhongXiang Zhang, 2015. "Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones: The Case of Carbon Trading in China," Working Papers 2015.19, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2015.19
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Zhang, Zengkai & Zhang, Zhongxiang, 2017. "Intermediate input linkage and carbon leakage," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(6), pages 725-746, December.
    3. Lo, Alex Y & Mai, Lindsay Qianqing & Lee, Anna Ka-yin & Francesch-Huidobro, Maria & Pei, Qing & Cong, Ren & Chen, Kang, 2018. "Towards network governance? The case of emission trading in Guangdong, China," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 538-548.
    4. Omid Sabbaghi & Navid Sabbaghi, 2017. "The Chicago Climate Exchange and market efficiency: an empirical analysis," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(4), pages 711-734, October.
    5. Shuai Jin & Yifei Niu & Liuwei Zhao, 2022. "Optimal purchase planning of initial emission permits with the paid use and trading system based on mean–variance model," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 43(6), pages 2409-2420, September.
    6. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2016. "The implementation of the Paris Agreement in the international and China?s context," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(3), pages 63-69.
    7. Wang, Zhan & Deng, Xiangzheng, 2017. "The energy policy outlets for community acceptance of ecological investment in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 669-677.
    8. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2018. "Trade and Climate Change: Focus on Carbon Leakage, Border Carbon Adjustments and WTO Consistency," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 12(1), pages 1-108, August.
    9. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2020. "Regional Pilots and Carbon Pricing," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 18(01), pages 09-12, April.
    10. Wang, Xu & Zhu, Lei & Liu, Pengfei, 2021. "Manipulation via endowments: Quantifying the influence of market power on the emission trading scheme," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    11. Cong, Ren & Lo, Alex Y., 2017. "Emission trading and carbon market performance in Shenzhen, China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 414-425.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pilot Carbon Trading Schemes; Low-carbon Development; Environmental Taxes; Market Stabilization Mechanism; Carbon Offsets; Enforcement and Compliance; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P28 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Socialist and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • 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
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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