emitters ignore carbon scheme, question government
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[June 13, 2014]
By Stian Reklev and Kathy
BEIJING (Reuters) - More
than a quarter of all companies covered by Beijing's
municipal carbon laws ignored a key reporting deadline,
local media reported Friday, with some powerful
companies questioning the local government trading
body's authority to regulate them.
Beijing's carbon trading market, one of six set up in China to rein
in rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions, caps carbon dioxide
from nearly 500 local enterprises.
Most of them must hand over permits to the government to cover for
their emissions, while some must only report their CO2 levels.
But 140 of them missed an April deadline to submit a verified report
of their 2013 emissions, local newspapers reported on Friday, a key
to determining how many permits each firm must hand over to the
government to cover for CO2 output.
Some of the firms implied that Beijing's Development and Reform
Commission (DRC), which operates the scheme, did not have the
authority to issue orders.
"It ends up like this because they don't follow our rules and the
document shown to us does not fit the requirements," Zhou Jiancheng,
vice director of planning and statistics at the Beijing Railway
Bureau, one of the firms that failed to submit the report, told
newspaper Beijing Youth Daily.
He said the company would have to see a "red-header document" before
they would submit the emissions report.
In China, a "red-header document" normally refers to orders issued
by the highest levels of government, whose name would be printed in
red on the letterhead.
By saying it has not received such a document, the Beijing Railway
Bureau indicated it did not consider the scheme rules issued by the
DRC as authoritative enough to pay attention to.
The Beijing DRC was not immediately available for comment.
The Beijing Railway Bureau operates most of the railway system in
Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, and is owned by the China
Railway Corp, making its CEO far more powerful than the head of the
It is unclear whether it is obliged to surrender permits under the
scheme or if it only must report its emissions, as the DRC has not
published a list of scheme participants.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) routinely ignore environmental
regulations issued by local governments, one of the main reasons why
China is struggling to cut soaring pollution levels despite issuing
a raft of environmental policies in the last couple of years.
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A new law mandates all companies to follow environmental regulations
regardless of the authority level, but that does not enter into
force until next year and it remains to be seen how successful it
"They (SOEs) are not just businesses, many have administrative
status higher than local governments. It is quite difficult to
manage and has not been completely resolved yet," Ma Jun, director
of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told Reuters.
Beijing, where companies must hand over permits to the government to
cover for their 2013 emissions by June 15, is only the latest of
several local governments struggling to enforce its carbon scheme.
Guangdong province and the cities of Shenzhen and Tianjin have also
found it difficult to convince local firms to follow the
The regional trading markets are intended as a pilot phase before a
national market begins later in the decade.
Sun Cuihua, deputy director of the climate change department in the
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said earlier this
month the national market will begin in 2016 or 2017, but that it
won't be fully operational until 2020.
(Editing by Michael Perry)
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