Carbon emission accounting plays a vital role in combating climate change by providing essential data for policy formulation and progress assessment. In China, this process is gaining momentum as the country actively works to establish a robust framework for monitoring and managing carbon emissions.

Recently, the National Development and Reform Commission, the National Bureau of Statistics, and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued the “Implementation Plan for Accelerating the Establishment of a Unified and Standardized Carbon Emission Accounting System” (referred to as the “Implementation Plan”), outlining key tasks for building China’s carbon emission accounting system.

This article explores the evolution of carbon emission accounting in China, highlighting achievements, challenges, and future prospects.

Foundations of Carbon Emission Accounting

China has undertaken extensive work in carbon emission accounting at various levels, from national to enterprise levels, to meet international climate commitments and support greenhouse gas control targets. Key accomplishments include:

  1. Regular Compilation of Updated Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Since 2000, China has developed a system for compiling national greenhouse gas inventories. Reports submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change cover sectors such as energy, industry, agriculture, and waste management.
  2. Establishment of Carbon Emission Intensity Index Calculation and Release Mechanism: During the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” period, China established statistical indicators and systems for calculating carbon emission intensity, aiding climate change mitigation efforts.
  3. Establishment of Carbon Emission Accounting and Reporting Verification System for Key Industries and Enterprises: Guidelines and standards for greenhouse gas emission accounting have been released for various industries. China has also organized reporting for key industries like electricity and steel.
  4. Establishment of Talent Teams and Support Platforms: China has formed national inventory compilation teams and provided training for personnel involved in inventory management. Additionally, enterprise carbon emission reporting systems and a national greenhouse gas inventory database have been established.

Prospects for Carbon Emission Accounting Work in China

Facing new domestic and international challenges, China aims to enhance the accuracy, timeliness, and transparency of carbon emission accounting data. Key strategies include:

  1. Clarification of Carbon Emission Accounting Mechanisms: The “Implementation Plan” outlines tasks to strengthen statistical foundations, establish emission factor databases, and enhance data management.
  2. Promotion of Normalized Compilation and Updating of National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: China aims to compile national inventories based on existing statistical data and international methods, ensuring consistency over time.
  3. Enhancement of Carbon Emission Data Quality for Industries and Enterprises: China plans to revise accounting guidelines and standards, strengthen supervision, and improve third-party verification.
  4. Orderly Conducting of Carbon Emission Accounting for Key Products: Focus will be on key industries, with gradual expansion to other sectors. Exploration of a carbon labeling system is also planned to guide consumers toward low-emission products.
  5. Consolidation of Work Foundations: China aims to improve existing statistical systems, enhance monitoring of emission sources, and explore advanced monitoring methods like satellite remote sensing.

In conclusion, the implementation of the “Implementation Plan” will further enhance China’s carbon emission accounting system, ensuring a solid foundation, scientific methods, advanced technology, and comprehensive data, contributing to global climate action efforts.

In Brief

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