(SHENZHEN, China – June 18, 2013) China’s first carbon trading pilot program formally launched today in Shenzhen, a city in southern China known for being a leader in market innovation. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) welcomed the launch of the system, which covers 635 companies and 40% of the city’s total emissions, and is set to reduce the carbon intensity of Shenzhen’s economy by 21% by 2015.
“This is further proof that China recognizes the need to address climate change. Shenzhen’s emissions trading system is another in a long string of firsts for a city that has established itself as a leader in market innovation in China. It was only natural that carbon be the next chapter,” said EDF vice president Dan Dudek, who runs EDF’s China Program and attended the announcement ceremony in Shenzhen. “Coming on the heels of an agreement between the U.S. and Chinese presidents to work together to control other powerful greenhouse gases, Shenzhen’s system shows China’s commitment to changing the current climate trajectory.”
Shenzhen’s system was launched in a ceremony today by National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman, Minister Xie Zhenhua, who was joined by the Commission’s Climate Department’s Director General Su Wei; the two oversee China’s domestic and international climate strategy. Chair of California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) Mary Nichols also participated in the launch and signed an agreement between California and Shenzhen to enhance technical cooperation between their emissions trading systems.
“California, the first state in the U.S. to have launched a statewide emissions trading system, has been an extraordinary example for Shenzhen, providing inspiration and support in development of its program,” said Dudek.
Shenzhen’s system is the first of seven carbon trading pilot programs to launch in China. Participating firms in Shenzhen will limit their total emissions over the next three years to 100 million tons; when the program ends in 2015, China’s national government will review the seven pilots’ outcomes and decide on the next phase for a national program.
EDF, a U.S.-based non-profit organization whose China Program is based in Beijing, began a formal collaboration on Shenzhen’s emissions trading system last November after working with the municipal government on a low-carbon transportation initiative over the past several years.
Shenzhen Vice Mayor Tang Jie, responsible for development of the emissions trading system, offered “special thanks to EDF for its support in advancing carbon trading in Shenzhen.”