China is not only the world’s second largest economy, but also its largest energy consumer and largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). The Chinese government has therefore identified climate change mitigation and the transition to a low-carbon economy as core objectives. As one of the key measures to control the growth of GHG emissions, the introduction of a nationwide emissions trading system (ETS) is planned. In preparation for the national scheme, in 2011 the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) designated seven provinces and cities - Guangdong, Hubei, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Shenzhen - as regional ETS pilots. The pilots started operation in 2013 and 2014. Building on the work of the pilots, the national ETS is scheduled to start in 2017.
Until then, it is of utmost importance for the non-pilot regions to prepare for the national ETS by building capacity in government institutions that will be responsible for administrating emissions trading in their region. To address this need for capacity development outside of the pilot schemes, representatives from the local Development Reform Commissions (DRC) and further institutions under command of the NDRC undertook a study tour on emissions trading in Germany from 25 October to 11 November 2015. The study tour was also supported by the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) and the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
Participants were introduced to the concept of ETS and the practices needed for successfully implementing an effective ETS. The programme offered a comprehensive overview of emissions trading theory and practice in Germany and Europe with a special focus on the governance structures and working processes of competent authorities that are necessary for operating an ETS. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) contracted adelphi and its partners FutureCamp, DIW Econ, and Öko-Institut to organise and carry out the study tour. Besides organisational tasks and supporting the Chinese delegation, adelphi was responsible for developing training materials, facilitating different dialogue formats and giving expert presentations.