China strides toward carbon neutrality amid market-based explorations
Updated: October 28, 2021 15:47 Xinhua

BEIJING — China has leveraged policy tools and explored market-oriented mechanisms, including establishing multi-level carbon trading markets and scaling up green financing, to achieve carbon neutrality.

Three months ago, the national carbon market, a major institutional innovation in China, started online trading. As the world's largest carbon trading market in terms of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions covered, it has involved a total of 2,162 power generation companies, representing 4.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

By the end of September, the trading volume in the market reached 17.65 million tons, with a turnover of 801 million yuan (about $125.24 million), according to a white paper released on Oct 27 by the State Council Information Office.

In fact, pilot programs on carbon emission trading have already been implemented at local levels before the nationwide carbon markets took shape.

Since 2011, seven pilot trading markets have been established in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Shenzhen as well as the provinces of Hubei and Guangdong.

Nearly 3,000 major emitters in more than 20 industries, including power, steel and cement, were incorporated in the carbon-trading platforms in 2013.

As of Sept 30, the total trading volume of the seven pilot carbon trading markets had reached 495 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, representing a value of approximately 12 billion yuan.

China also established a greenhouse gas voluntary emission reduction program in 2012 to promote the transformation toward low-carbon industrial structure and energy consumption.

By the end of last month, the total trading volume of greenhouse gas voluntary emission reduction had exceeded 334 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, with the turnover approaching 3 billion yuan.

To tackle climate change, China has continued to increase investment, the white paper noted.

The country has improved the top-level design of green finance and set up nine pilot zones for reform and innovation of green finance in six provincial-level regions.

China has encouraged the development of green credit mechanisms, improved supporting policies for green bonds, and published a green bond project catalog to effectively channel private capital into addressing climate change, said the white paper.

As of the end of 2020, China's balance of green loans reached 11.95 trillion yuan, of which the clean energy loan balance stood at 3.2 trillion.

China has also issued about 1.2 trillion yuan of green bonds in total, making it the world's second-biggest green bond market.

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