China makes a U-turn on aviation carbon trading
China has agreed to include aviation emissions among eight industries in a carbon-trading scheme to begin next year.
The inclusion of the sector is a major about-turn for the country, which, together with the US, previously blocked attempts to include international flights in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and threatened a trade war.
The boycott means that currently, only flights within the EU are covered by the scheme.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission has said the carbon scheme would also cover the petrochemical and power industries, along with chemicals, construction material, nonferrous metals, steel and papermaking.
The national carbon market will use a cap-and-trade system whereby the biggest polluters buy credits from smaller polluters.
The softening of China’s stance comes as it finally acknowledges the dangerous levels of pollution in its cities. China has already said it plans to reach peak emissions by 2030 and fund development of solar and wind energy.
China’s Civil Aviation Authority will draw up a list of carriers to be included in the scheme by March.
Separately, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has said it will agree a global market-based measure in 2016 designed to ensure carbon neutral growth takes effect from 2020, which could potentially integrate with the launch of China's scheme.