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China’s Emissions Trading System: What the United States and China Can Teach Each Other

November 2018

Citation: ELR 10968

Author: Kimberly Peterson

China is working hard on an ambitious policy to become a world leader in addressing climate change, with plans to transform its energy policy primarily using carbon emissions trading. The National Development and Reform Commission announced on December 19, 2017, that it was deploying its National Carbon Emissions Trading Market Construction Plan for the Power Generation Industry. This rollout will go slowly, in three stages, and actual trading is not expected to begin until 2020. This Comment analyzes the climate goals that China's central government has set for the country; the legal issues that China must resolve as it rolls out its national emissions trading system (ETS) and the different ways the government can resolve the issues; how emissions trading is conducted in the United States; and the key legal lessons from China's struggle to roll out a national ETS and how that could provide a useful framework if the United States should decide to roll out its own national system.

Kimberly Peterson is a 2019 J.D. candidate at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

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