Emissions trade aids protection of nature
The establishment of a regional market for emissions trading on the Yangtze River Delta is vital for the successful development of the area's economy while protecting its environment, experts from home and abroad said at opening ceremonies of a regional environmental meeting on Friday.
Such emission trading schemes have come about because of caps set on the amount of pollution that can be produced by industrial sources, such as power plants and factories.
Under such programmes, companies producing fewer emissions than others are permitted to store their excess capacity for future use or trade it with other corporations that cannot meet the pollution targets set by government authorities.
China's first agreement on sulphur dioxide emission trading between two plants located in different cities came into effect in July 2003.
The Taicang Port Huanbao Power Co. Ltd in Taicang, the buyer, and the Nanjing Xi'naguan Power Plant in Nanjing, the seller, are both in Jiangsu Province.
"To achieve effective regional environmental co-operation, we must build up an efficient dialogue platform, and an information communication channel, as well as a co-operative system," Chen Qingtai, deputy-director of the Development Research Centre of the State Council, told the International Forum on Regional Environmental Co-operation.
Chen said the regional environmental problem goes beyond administrative boundaries and geographical frontiers.
"The solution to cross-boundary environmental problems relies on regional co-operation along the Yangtze River Delta region, one of the China's most dynamic areas," he said.
Chen noted that when developing new models for environmental protection, market-based tools, such as emission trading, should be utilized.
Due to the rapid economic development in the Yangtze River Delta, which covers Shanghai and 14 other cities in northern Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu provinces, restraints on natural resources and worsening environmental conditions become more and more evident. That's according to a report released by the United States Environmental Defence (EDF) and Tsinghua University.
The worsening contamination of major rivers and lakes and atmospheric pollutants, especially sulphur dioxide -- the cause of acid rain -- have become major environmental problems in the region, according to the report.
Lin Hong, a scientist with the China environment Science Research, said that the cross-provincial border emission trading programme should to carried out to realize the sustainable development in Yangtze River Delta.
The mutual effects of sulphur dioxide between Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai are expected to reach 20 per cent. That means 20 per cent of sulphur dioxide of one city comes from other cities' emissions, according to Lin.
"Based on the successful experience of many countries and areas in solving trans-boundary environmental problems, the Yangtze River Delta could learn from advanced international experience," said Daniel J.Dudek, chief economist of the EDF group.
The EDF group is a non-profit, non-government organization that has championed successful sulphur dioxide emissions trading programmes.