Global Carbon Trade


China, being the largest greenhouse gas emitting country in the world, has been working tirelessly to reduce emissions by taking direct action through the adaptation of policy and promoting energy conservation. Emissions trading has become an important part of policy to reach emission reduction goals in China. In October of 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approved pilot projects of emissions trading rights in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hubei, Guangdong, and Shenzhen provinces. In accordance with the U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change in October 2015, there are plans to launch a nationwide emissions trading system in 2017 in China. This system will cover steel, chemical, building materials, paper, electricity, non-ferrous metals, and other heavy metal industries in order to reach an emissions peak by 2030 (Wang, 2015).

In order for China to achieve their promised emissions peak by 2030, transition to low-carbon economic growth and green development is a necessity. Plans to launch a nationwide emissions trading system in 2017 will create the world’s largest emissions trading market. Understanding the existing foreign emissions trading markets and rules is necessary to establishing a Chinese carbon market. Forestry will be a main source of future carbon sinks while being important for domestic and international trading. The inclusion of forestry carbon sequestration, and the rules and market docking that apply, requires more research to be a part of the carbon market in order to establish a unified market in China.


Combining a variety of research methods including qualitative with quantitative, statistical with analytical, and empirical with theoretical, this study works to complete the specific objectives. By conducting a literature review and various targeting surveys and interviews, while obtaining the necessary data and information to preform analysis, the final assessment will be achieved:

May 2016

Literature analysis of status and development trends in carbon markets around the globe has been completed and is in review.


  • The role of carbon markets in the INDCs and emission reduction plans of the Paris Agreement
  • The development and status quo of emissions trading systems in Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania
  • Forest carbon sink trading policies, methods, and prices
  • A comparative analysis of the design of the global forest carbon sink system and its role in the emissions trading system

July 2016

Manuscript titled “Lessons Learned in Carbon Market Development” to provide an overview of past experiences (positive and negative) in carbon market development and recommendations for future development of an effective, cohesive international carbon market.

August 2016

Interview and pre-test of survey will be conducted in the California and Quebec emission trading systems.

September 2016

Interviews of regulating authorities and surveys of participating facilities in the current major carbon market systems will be conducted.

Works in progress

The planning of case, comparative, document, and statistical analysis between the data collected from the above participating regions regarding carbon trading docking mechanisms and carbon emissions.

Focus begins on the Chinese carbon market based on analysis of global carbon trading mechanisms to conduct a design-demonstration study and provide recommendations for effective development of a national Chinese emissions trading system.