Carbon Emission Trading

Kerry Lau

When we go out to the street, seldom can we see a clear blue sky or breathe in fresh air. Vehicles are everywhere and the air is stale. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted is on the rise, which intensifies global warming. Facing such an aggravating environmental problem, people are starting to think about the concept of carbon emission trading. What actually is carbon emission trading about? What are carbon credits?

Carbon trading is the exchange of carbon emission allowances as carbon credits. Every company engaged in carbon trading is given an allowance of credits. These credits allow them to emit for example,  one metric tonne of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases of the same amount. If they have not used up their quotas, they can sell those extra carbon credits to others. On the other hand, those who use up their quotas can buy the extra carbon credits. It provides a way for countries to meet the requirements as listed in the Kyoto Protocol. It suggests that developed nations have to lower greenhouse emission levels by 5% by 2012. Recently, carbon trading has caught more public attention. According to the statistics of the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit in 2005, there were 374 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide exchanged through different projects. Some companies, namely the Chicago Climate Exchange, European Climate Exchange, Nord Pool, and Power Next have also engaged in such trading in recent years. For carbon trading, trade usually occurs between developing nations and developed nations.

Carbon emission trading enables us to kill two birds with one stone. It provides the developing nations with the opportunity to invest and produce and at the same time it helps to alleviate their nations’ environmental problems. Economically, developing nations earn huge profits with little investment. According to the World Bank, it is estimated that developing nations can annually earn approximately US$100 through carbon trading by 2050. Environmentally, it will lower the pollution levels effectively.

While developing nations can earn huge profits through selling carbon credits to developed countries, they can at the same time reduce the pollution levels in their own countries. By just a single move, people can gain two advantages. So, why don’t we support this policy and make more effort to save our environment?

 For Hong Kong, the government should consider developing carbon trading. A concrete plan should be made for this issue. With the greatest carbon credit supplier nearby, the mainland, Hong Kong has great potential in this trade. Besides, a sound financial and economic system also favors this trading system. Hong Kong businessmen, let’s think of how to earn profits in a green way.    

Everyone plays a crucial part in environmental protection. If every one of us makes a little effort, it will make a great difference. It is time we made every endeavor to prevent our environment from deteriorating. Otherwise, we will be the ones who suffer and bear the austere repercussions.



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