China’s Xie touts prospect of China-Korea ETS link

Published 12:06 on December 5, 2015  /  Last updated at 17:24 on December 6, 2015  / Ben Garside /  Asia Pacific, China, EMEA, EU ETS, International, South Korea

South Korea is willing to work with China to study whether it is possible to link their national carbon markets, according to Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy.

South Korea is willing to work with China to study whether it is possible to link their national carbon markets, according to Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy.

Speaking at an event on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Paris on Saturday, Xie said his Korean counterpart had told him this at a meeting two days earlier.

“Between China and Korea we can establish a much bigger market in Asia, and with the EU we one day want to see a global carbon market,” he told the event.

“That way, we can join our efforts to speak the same language on carbon markets,” he said.

Both nations have said their carbon markets will remain domestic affairs this side of 2020, but are open to future international links.

Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd told Carbon Pulse on Friday he is fronting a project seeking to establish a common emissions trading market in China, South Korea and Japan.

China, the world’s biggest emitter, has launched seven pilot carbon markets and plans a national ETS from 2017. South Korea began its economy-wide scheme in January this year.

China’s President Xi Jinping in Sept. confirmed the 2017 date for the launch of its national market, though observers only expect the market to fully cover the whole country from around 2020.

Xie suggested that China’s seven regional pilot carbon markets, in place from 2013, provide a good experience for China to establish the national market widely.

“These seven pilots are located in the east, west, centrally, places at different development stages and capacities,” he said.

“If we can take good stock of their experiences we can apply this widely to the whole country, not only focused on the east or west, we need to look at the whole country.”


Xie spoke warmly of China’s close relationship with the EU on building its national market, referring to the EU as “our teachers”.

In May the two economies agreed to extend their EU-funded technical co-operation, which since 2014 has trained around 1,000 Chinese officials, company representatives, verifiers and academics on how to set standards for monitoring emissions and how to report output.

Europe’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told the event the two economies were working on concrete ideas on how to extend the co-operation beyond its initial deadline of Dec. 2016.

“We will soon be in position to show further progress,” he said.

The European Commission’s top climate official Jos Delbeke said the EU was “open to engage in any [ETS] linking debate with any country”.

“For those that want to … it would need to be well established, well functioning, based on transparent criteria… otherwise [efforts to link] will fail.

“The most important thing is for countries to create a domestic system, via their INDCs. Ten years from now, we will have many linking debates on carbon markets.”

Jiang Zhaoli, deputy director general of climate in China’s NDRC, one of Beijing’s senior officials involved in building China’s national ETS, said he was “very interested in China-EU cooperation on carbon markets and was in general open to the possibility of linking China’s ETS.

“To link in technical terms would not be so much of a problem, it depends on the willingness and vision of politicians.”

“We can achieve linkage, we don’t need to make much modification. From a technical point of view, we are looking forward to such a possibility in future.”

By Ben Garside –