Officials in Beijing announced on Tuesday a blueprint for opening the world’s largest financial market for carbon emissions, a long-anticipated move in China’s ongoing fight against pollution. It is expected to use a cap-and-trade system in which companies that want to pollute beyond their allocated quota will have to buy credits from firms that have reduced their emissions.
While it’s a significant step in the right direction, views on the short-term outlook are varied.
- Bloomberg notes that the plan to cover 1,700 utility companies falls far short of the 6,000 companies considered for inclusion last year. Li Shuo, senior global policy adviser for Greenpeace East Asia, told Scientific American that “it is important to bear in mind that the first phase will be embryonic.”
- However, the power sector does account for almost half of China’s fossil fuel emissions, reports the New York Times (paywall), and a nationwide market in China will help boost global efforts to curb greenhouse gases through markets, which have faltered.
- China’s own experiences with local-level pilot programs have been mixed, with too many credits issued to polluters, giving them little incentive to reduce emissions. However, Quartz notes that even if emissions are not reduced right away, the pollution monitoring envisioned by the plan would be “a huge benefit in a country notorious for its lack of trusted data.”
- All the rules and regulations associated with the program have yet to be drafted, and no start date has been set — it could still be years away.
Sixteen tons of debt
China, seeking growth, softens focus on cutting debt / WSJ (paywall)
“In economic blueprint for 2018, Beijing to dial back emphasis on curbing lending that spurs economy.”
Curbing foreign spending sprees
China seeks to rein in overseas investment with 36-point code of conduct for private firms / SCMP
“Private firms are specifically told not to use ‘fraudulent overseas deals’ to obtain foreign exchange, not to transfer assets abroad, and warned against getting involved in money laundering.”
Natural gas shortages
Gas shortage forces Chinese city to end heating at government buildings / Financial Times (paywall)
“The Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported on Tuesday that Changsha, the capital city of Hunan Province with a population of around 7 million, had suspended provision of natural gas to offices at all levels of government from Monday to ensure sufficient supply was available for residential use.”
WeWork and URWork settle U.S. trademark lawsuit / TechNode
The Chinese company agreed to use the English name URWork in China only, and use its Chinese name, You Ke Gong Chang 优客工厂, overseas.
Sequoia Capital China joins $50 million series C round In British AI chip maker Graphcore / China Money Network
Box office bonanza
China to movie theaters: We’ll pay you to show more Chinese films / China Law Blog