- Emissions trading: practical application resembles test phase
- Japan and Australia forge military alliance
- Debate over Covid rules in Xi’an
- Data recorder to become mandatory for cars
- Introduction of property tax could still take time
- Court finds US researcher guilty
- Longest car tunnel opens in Jiangsu
- Johnny Erling: Xi, Mao, Pu Yi and the Imperial Legacy
Emissions trading is considered an important instrument for achieving climate goals in China just as it is in the EU. But while prices for carbon emissions have skyrocketed in Europe, they have made little difference in China so far. Some crucial elements are still missing, analyzes Christiane Kuehl in a first assessment of the still young Chinese emissions trading system. The system will probably not take effect until 2025, when, according to the plan, emissions of harmful gasses are supposed to decline.
Japan and Australia, meanwhile, are forming a military pact. The two large Pacific islands have not given any specific reason for their new security alliance. But it is clearly directed against China. The People’s Republic’s naval buildup is driving its neighbors together. Every action causes a counter-reaction, after all. Naturally, this also applies to the forging of new, exclusive alliances, analyzes Michael Radunski.
Xi Jinping is acting more and more like a new Emperor of China. This is rather irritating since feudalism is in fact the natural enemy of communism. But how else to interpret a chair with dragon ornaments, the ancient symbol of imperial strength? Or the precious teacups in imperial yellow? Johnny Erling is interpreting these symbols of a meeting with the Hong Kong head of administration that took place in a palace building – and is drawing a link to Mao and the last (real) emperor.
Second year of China’s emissions trading
The first trading cycle of the Chinese national carbon trading scheme has been completed: Time to take stock. And the results are mixed. On the positive side, the system started successfully: Trading of CO2 emission allowances has been underway on the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange (SEEE) since mid-July. But even though there have been actual transactions on the market, 2021 should more be considered a test run for a future, more comprehensive ETS. This is because the instrument so far had little impact on emissions due to low coverage:
- Only power companies are participating so far, almost all of them operate coal-fired power plants.
- Emission allowances were allocated free of charge.
- They applied to the years 2019 and 2020 – and thus retroactively to emissions that have long since been blown into the air.
- The CO2 price is low.
As of the December 31 deadline, virtually all approximately 2,200 participating companies met the requirements, at 99.5 percent, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced on New Year’s Eve. That means they were able to present and submit a sufficient amount of emissions allowances for their verified CO2 emissions from 2019 and 2020. They either received these allowances from the allocation or bought additional ones through the ETS. As a rule, older power plants with high CO2 emissions acquire surplus allowances from newer, more efficient plants in the process.
According to calculations by the financial services provider Refinitiv, 99.5 percent of properly registered companies emitted in both years a massive 8.693 gigatons of CO2 equivalent, or around 4.35 gigatons per year. That’s a good 40 percent of China’s emissions and, according to the British trade website Carbon Brief, about 12 percent of global emissions. By comparison, the 1,817 German plants covered by the EU’s ETS emitted only 320 million metric tons (0.32 gigatons) of greenhouse gases in 2020.