China expects to make the first trade on the long-awaited national emission trading scheme in 2020, a senior climate official said on Saturday, as part of Beijing’s efforts to fulfil its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. China has spent two years on legal and technical infrastructure construction after it announced its plans to launch the nationwide emission trading scheme (ETS) in 2017. It began setting up pilot trading platforms in 2013 in seven regions across the country but they have not been brought under a unified scheme yet. “China will speed up construction of the national carbon trading scheme this year and aims to carry out the first trade among coal-fired power utilities in 2020,” Jiang Zhaoli, deputy director of the climate change department at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said at an industrial conference. Coal-fired power is the first industry included in the national ETS, covering around 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emitted in China every year. China admits it still has work to do before carbon trading scheme gets up and running China will promote carbon trade in power sectors, Jiang said, adding that the government would also include more high-energy consuming industries such as steel, non-ferrous and construction materials in the scheme. “We will explore carbon derivatives trading and non-gratuitous allocation of emission quotas in 2021 to 2025,” Jiang said. The nationwide ETS aims to cover 8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per annum from around 100,000 industrial plants when the trading scheme is fully launched. The ETS is designed to encourage power utilities and manufacturers to reduce emissions through a market mechanism. Some scholars in China, however, are questioning the necessity of the ETS due to overlapping of policies. On the whole, China also plans to introduce a carbon tax and a renewable power quota system with a similar aim of boosting clean energy consumption and cutting emissions at industrial plants. China said it had cut carbon intensity by 45.8 per cent in 2018 from the level in 2005, exceeding the target of lowering it by 45 per cent by 2020. It also pledged to bring emissions to a peak by around 2030 as part of its commitments to the 2015 Paris accord.