Shanghai has launched a pilot carbon emission rights trading scheme – an effort to drive emissions reduction that will involve 200 major local polluters, including industrial companies whose annual CO2 output reaches 20,000 tonnes, as well as non-industrials whose annual emissions total 10,000 tonnes. The People’s Daily Online reports that scheme, launched last Thursday, will see each of the participants get a free quota for a certain base carbon emission; companies failing to meet emission reduction targets will need to buy quota from those companies whose emission cuts exceed the targets.
Xie Zhenhua, a vice director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission – the nation’s top economic planning agency – has described the move as “a landmark step” along the road of building a national domestic carbon emission trading market; China has pledged to cut its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2020. The People’s Daily report also quotes executives from major steel maker Baosteel as saying that a market-oriented scheme would see aggressive emission cutting companies get earnings.
In other news…
Tony Abbott has conceded that the Gillard government’s carbon tax is not the only factor contributing to Australia’s soaring electricity prices, in comments made during an Australian Industry Group address that the Australian Financial Review says appear to tone down the Opposition Leader’s rhetoric against the emissions scheme.
The Arctic Ocean’s ice cover is shrinking at a record pace this year, accelerated by higher-than-average temperatures. Bloomberg reports that the area of ocean covered by ice shrank to 4.93 million square kilometers on average for the five days through August 15, according to the latest data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center – shrinkage that NSIDC research scientist Walt Meier describes as the most visible sign of global warming.
A survey by a US think tank has found that three out of four Americans think the nation needs “to start focusing more” on clean energy sources like wind and solar, in the face of its most widespread drought since 1956. Bloomberg reports that the concern, which revolves mainly around water use, is shared by 61 per cent of Republicans, 84 per cent of Democrats and 80 per cent of independents.
Opponents of controversial Amazon hydroelectric project – the Belo Monte dam in Brazil, led by Electrobras – won up a rare, albeit temporary, reprieve last week, with a federal appeals court ordering construction be suspended until indigenous groups are brought up to speed. The Guardian reports that the judgment is being seen as a scathing verdict on the government’s efforts to rush forward with the Xingu River project – part of Brazil’s effort to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels.