Chinese carbon idea reflects history

A top Chinese state think tank – the State Council Development Research Centre -- has proposed a global greenhouse-gas trading plan to reflect the varying historic emissions of rich and poor nations, indicating deepening discussion in Beijing about climate-change policy, Reuters reported. Researchers from the centre presented the plan in the current issue of the Economic Research Journal.


The think tank recommends setting emissions rights for each country based on historic accumulation, and then allowing nations to trade portions of those rights in an international market. The plan would draw China and other developing countries into clearer obligations to curtail greenhouse gases in the long term. However, it would give them larger per-capita emissions quotas than rich countries, reflecting the developing world’s historically low emissions and “right to develop”.

All countries should develop a “historic account” of past emissions, according to the plan. That account would be used to measure whether current emissions fall above or below appropriate levels calculated from population, accumulated emissions and total global-reduction objectives.

How countries keep their own future emissions entitlements within agreed levels would be left for governments to decide. Countries could trade emissions rights, on condition that they eliminate their “emissions rights deficit” by a set date – for example, 2050.

Separately, a new report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences proposes that the country’s total emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) peak between 2030 and 2040. Emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, would then stabilise and fall, helped by international technological and funding support, the official Guangming Daily reported.

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