Putting China in Control of Its Carbon Emissions

Establishing the first emissions trading systems for the world's largest CO2 emitter


Establish standardized building blocks for a national ETS in China, starting with seven regional pilots.


Design and implement the world’s largest technical assistance project dedicated to trading emissions.


China is set to develop a landmark ETS using best practices from across the globe, a huge leap forward for the country’s climate change agenda.

ICF led the technical assistance project to support China’s ETS mission, establishing the building blocks for the nation to fulfill its Paris Agreement pledges while maintaining growth. Though the project started with a goal of seven regional pilots, the government expanded its scope to include the foundational elements of a unified national scheme. Our team quickly adapted—forging strong partnerships with our Chinese collaborators to achieve success.

We prioritized two key elements along the way: building trust with key policymakers and a sound monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system. Through these efforts and by leveraging lessons learned elsewhere in the world, the ICF team helped increase China’s chances of a smooth transition to a national ETS. Now, China is well-positioned on the precipice of a major milestone for the global carbon market.

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