On July 14, 2021, during the regular policy briefing of the State Council Information Office, Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Ecological and Environment (MEE), and Li Gao, Director General of the Department of Climate Change of MEE, introduced the current status of the national carbon emission trading market, and in particular the launch of online transactions. Specifically:

  1. On July 7, the State Council executive meeting delegated MEE to launch the national carbon emission trading market, by starting online transactions.
  2. In late 2017, the State Council issued the Plan for the Establishment of a National Carbon Emissions Trading Market, which put forward the establishment of a nationally unified trading market for carbon emissions. Since 2018, MEE issued the Administrative Measures for Carbon Emissions Trading (Trial Implementation), specifications on enterprises GHG emission verification, and refined the administrative systems on emissions registration, trading, settlement, etc. At the same time, MEE has actively coordinated with the Ministry of Justice to promote the legislation process of the Interim Regulations on the Management of Carbon Emissions Trading.
  3. MEE indicated the power generation industry as the first one to be included in the national carbon emission market. At the initial stage of the market, only spot trading of allowances will be carried out between key emission units in the power generation industry; in conjunction with the ongoing carbon emission intensity management system, the benchmark law will be adopted to allocate and issue the first batch of allowances for key emission units in the power generation industry across the country. Against this backdrop, and in order to further reinforce the data quality management before taking online transactions in the national carbon market, MEE specifically issued the Guidelines of Enterprises GHG Emissions Accounting and Reporting-Power Generation Facilities and the Guidelines of Enterprises GHG Emissions Reporting Verification (Trial Implementation), with the objective to regulate the accounting and reporting of key emission units in the power generation industry, at the same time putting forward strict requirements over the process and content of data verification conducted by the provincial authorities. At present, the system has included over 2,000 key emission units in the power generation industry, and it is expected that the carbon emissions of the first batch of enterprises included in the carbon market will exceed 4 billion tons, making it the largest carbon market for the GHG coverage in the world.
  4. At present, through the national pollution discharge permits administration information platform, MEE established the GHG emission information management system of key enterprises; it also guided and supported Hubei province and Shanghai municipality to complete the establishment of their national carbon emission rights registration and trading system, which passed the system testing and acceptance.
  5. As for next steps, MEE will continue to improve supporting systems, promote the introduction of the Interim Regulations on the Management of Carbon Emissions Trading, and further improve relevant technical regulations, standards, and management systems. On the basis of the healthy operation of the carbon market in power generation industry, MEE will gradually expand the market coverage to more high-emission industries, enriching transaction varieties and trading methods as needed, ensuring the stable and effective operation and healthy and sustainable development of the national carbon market, thus effectively giving full play to the role of market mechanisms in controlling GHG emissions and realizing China’s goals of emission peak and carbon neutrality.