The mitigation of carbon emissions has been the subject of gradual policy development in the international community during recent years. China, as the world’s most populous and largest developing country, is a large greenhouse gas emissions source that grows rapidly in line with its industrialisation and urbanisation. Extensive air pollution within China today, however, is endangering the lives of countless citizens and sapping the nation’s economic vitality. In response, the Chinese government is considering adopting appropriate environmental policy instruments to mitigate emissions, among which emissions trading system is of great concern. This article firstly makes a brief introduction to the status quo of the legal and policy framework used in controlling carbon emissions under China’s current policies and legislation. In this context, the system of carbon emissions trading is selected as the primary case study and a review of pilot programs on carbon emissions trading in part of China is provided. Before discussing the key elements on designing and implementing emissions trading system in China, the methodology of our multi-criteria approach is explained in Section 2, which is used to evaluate this market-based environmental policy instrument throughout the article. In order to develop a scientifically sound, economically rational and politically feasible emissions trading system, key issues including the scope of the cap’s coverage, stringency of the emissions target, system’s point of regulation, allowance distribution methods as well as “cost-containment” mechanisms are identified and discussed in Section 3. Finally, a brief conclusion is provided on the basis of the above study.
Ying Shen, University of Western Sydney, Australia
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