China tackles climate change with world’s largest carbon market

The Chinese state hopes to use market forces to encourage energy-hungry firms to seek cleaner alternatives, but simply telling them what to do may be more effective

China has upped the ante in its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow the progress of climate change. The Chinese government is launching a nationwide carbon market that should encourage power companies to cut their emissions.

China is the world’s largest polluter, responsible for more than a quarter of annual greenhouse gas emissions – although that is partly an artefact of its huge population, as it produces fewer emissions per person than the United States. Though China invests heavily in green technologies like electric cars and solar panels, its greenhouse gas emissions have tripled since 2000.

Five cities and two provinces in China already have carbon markets, where companies trade the right to emit greenhouse gases. These are specific to different sectors, focusing on steel mills, cement factories and other energy-guzzling industries. The nationwide project will focus on power generation.

It’s hoped that the scheme will

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