Editor’s pickChina launches world’s largest national carbon trading market


Chimney smoke. Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash


China has rolled out the world’s largest carbon emission trading market, a milestone that marks the country’s efforts to tackle growing environmental challenges, China’s top economic planning body announced on Dec 19 last year. The nationwide carbon emission trading scheme will start with more than 1,700 companies in the coal-fire power generation industry, which emit over three billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in total each year, said Li Gao, Chief of Climate Division under the National Development and Reform Committee, at a press conference of the launch event.

In the carbon cap-and-trade programme, a regulatory body sets a maximum national “cap” on greenhouse gas emissions, which include carbon dioxide and five other major gases, and are measured in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent. Each company in the trading market will be given a quota on the amount of greenhouse gas it is allowed to emit and can trade its unused quota to others for a profit, Li explained.

In this way, companies are encouraged to reduce its carbon footprint and be more environmentally responsible, Li said.

China is one of the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases. The country has spent 15 years sourcing for the best means to build a domestic carbon market of its own.

Since 2011, China has kicked off seven pilot programmes in two provinces and five cities where governments and companies have tinkered with cap and trade. The total value of the carbon trading programme reached 4.6 billion yuan in the past four years; overall volume of carbon gases has also started to fall.

What this means for the wood industry

The carbon trading scheme is considered good news for wood construction industry. Wood is an ideal construction material as it stores carbon throughout the building’s lifetime, benefiting the environment. Compared to steel or concrete, they require less energy to produce and therefore emit lower greenhouse gases.

Using wood products as well as responsibly managing forests in a way that balances harvesting and replanting, can minimise China’s carbon footprint in the long run.

Canada Wood China is in the process of launching a joint research project with the local authorities on wood performance of carbon footprint and sequestration. The aim is to provide a scientific and technical basis to advance policy development towards wood products and wood construction.


Extracted from Canada Wood Blog