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China launches operational phase of national ETS
REEI 2021/01/07
China has launched its national ETS starting 2021, bringing the world’s largest carbon market online after three years of preparation.  

On 5 January 2021, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) published a final version of the “National Measures for the Administration of Carbon Emission Trading (Trial)” (hereafter the National Measures), along with the final allocation plan for the power sector titled “2019-2020 National Carbon Emission Trading Cap Setting and Allowance Allocation Implementation Plan (Power Generation Industry)”, and the list of covered entities. The finalization of these key policy documents, along with an announcement of compliance obligations starting 1 January 2021, mark the operational launch of the Chinese national ETS following the political launch three years ago.

The National Measures were released in draft form in early November 2020 for public consultation and recently approved by the MEE. Taking effect on 1 February 2021, they provide the legal basis for the national ETS and supersede interim measures published in 2014. The final version confirms the three-tiered governance structure outlined in the draft: MEE acts as the national competent authority setting the rules and overseeing the system, with joint oversight of trading activities with other regulators, while its subsidiaries at the provincial level oversee the implementation of these rules and the municipal-level authorities take on some management duties locally.





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