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Study on China’s national carbon trading registry framework


In 2013, China represented nearly 60% of the total global increase in CO2 emissions, and its per capita emissions surpassed those of the EU for the first time. The Chinese Government announced it would reduce the carbon intensity of the Chinese economy, and a nationwide carbon trading scheme was to form a centrepiece of its strategy to achieve this.

The Chinese Government planned to first test carbon trading schemes on a small scale in seven locations, with a view to eventually expanding them to a national scheme. A national-level registry framework is a vital policy component for any carbon trading scheme, as it serves to keep the rules consistent for trading entities and local carbon exchanges. This project aimed to create a study providing the specifics of a national level carbon trading registry system to facilitate both short-term project-based trading and allowance-based carbon trading in the years to come.



This project was carried out in close partnership with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is a highly influential body with broad administrative and planning control over the Chinese economy. This partnership contributed to a very critical step in China’s policy and regulatory development in the field of climate change and was highly praised by the government and experts.

The project produced four comprehensive reports containing important insights and guidance for setting up China’s voluntary carbon trading registry system. As an extra, it also provided a blueprint and functional specification for the development of specialised software for the carbon trading registry.

Since the end of the project, the NDRC has developed a number of new policies for carbon trading systems and further implemented its pilots. It is difficult to quantify exactly how much influence the project had on the creation of these policies, because the Chinese policymaking process is very difficult to decipher. The regional trading systems were still running as of 2017, and the release of the national scheme was due at the end of the year.

Programme sector
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency / Policy and Regulation
2011 - 2012
€ 150,000
REEEP grant funded by
United Kingdom
REEEP grant funded by