China will launch its national carbon trading system “in coming days”, said Vice-Premier Ma Kai in Paris on Dec 12, as French President Emmanuel Macron urged countries to put their climate solutions on the table.
Ma said China will set up its national carbon market but a phase-by-phase approach will be introduced, while the pilot markets have already been put into operation in some provinces and municipalities.
“I am announcing that China will be launching the national carbon trading system in the coming days ... to encourage businesses to reduce greenhouse gases by using market incentives,” Ma told the One Planet Summit, which was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and more than 50 global leaders.
Ma’s announcement won loud applause while Macron warned that the world is facing the threat of “losing the battle” against climate change after US President Donald Trump announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
However, he said the opportunity still existed if every country aimed to transform their pledges into real action.
Ma said China will honor its commitments made two years ago when nearly 200 countries signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement by transforming his country through green and low-carbon development.
Ma said China will also strengthen South-South cooperation, while urging rich countries to do more to help poor countries in climate adaptation and mitigation.
Insiders said Ma’s announcement has showcased China’s lasting stances of fulfilling its international commitments while introducing market-oriented carbon schemes at home.
“Vice-Premier Ma’s announcement has once again showcased China’s strong determination and impressive actions, which not only aims to fulfill its Paris climate commitment,” said Zhang Jianyu, chief representative in China of the Environmental Defense Fund of the United States.
“This has also shown that President Xi Jinping’s call for China to be the ‘torchbearer’in the global fight against climate change is put into another action.”
Che Wei, vice-president of Danfoss China, a leading Danish group in the heating and cooling sectors, said China has set an example on green investment. “Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decarbonize our economy on a sustainable path. We call on governments across the world to take stronger actions.”
The US government did not send high-profile officials, but businesses, former politicians and leaders from several states pledged that the US will be on the track in the climate fight.
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said US states and cities have a lot of power in climate decision-making. “Donald Trump did not pull the United States out of the Paris agreement. Donald Trump pulled Donald Trump out of the Paris agreement.”