Carbon Markets

China’s national carbon market was officially launched in July 2021. Although the market only covers China’s power sector, it still constitutes the largest carbon market in the world. By the time the market incorporates its top polluting industries–electrolytic aluminum, cement, iron and steel, petrochemical, chemicals, papermaking and aviation–it will have put a price on nearly 80% of China’s emissions. A key challenge for the market is that prices are well below levels that are needed to change behavior. In 2021, average prices traded around 50 RMB, or $7.70 USD. In contrast, the IMF has estimated global average carbon prices need to reach at least $75 USD by the end of the decade to meet the Paris emissions goals.