The Governance of Climate Relations Between Europe and Asia

The Governance of Climate Relations Between Europe and Asia

Evidence from China and Vietnam as Key Emerging Economies

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Hans Bruyninckx, Qi Ye, Nguyen Quang Thuan and David Belis

The Governance of Climate Relations between Europe and Asia offers a thorough empirical study of the most fundamental dynamics involved in EU climate relations with China and Vietnam in the context of global climate governance.

Chapter 5: Cap or tax? Exploring the potential for a carbon tax or emissions trading in China

Kris Bachus and Cao Jing

Subjects: asian studies, asian environment, environment, asian environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, international relations


China is often blamed for slowing down or even obstructing progress in global climate negotiations, as was shown in the Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009 (Lütken 2010). Most developing and emerging economies find it hard to accept an absolute target for their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, viewing it as a potential restriction of their economic development (Cooper 2008). However this observation does not imply that China is not taking any action with regard to climate change mitigation. On the contrary, China has initiated many ambitious policies, such as technology mandates and small-plant shut-down policies in the power sector; vehicle emissions standards; a 1000-firm energy saving programme in the 11th Five-Year Plan and now a 10 000-firm energy saving programme for the 12th Five-Year Plan; feed-in-tariffs and renewable quotas to support renewable energy technologies. Most of the recent policies are command-and-control policies. However, domestically, the instrument choice debate to curb GHG emissions is very lively. As in other countries or regions, the debate largely comes down to the choice between two market-based policy instruments: a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

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