By Alex Lo
This booklet explores the political points of China's weather swap coverage, targeting the newly proven carbon markets and carbon buying and selling schemes. Lo makes a case for realizing the coverage swap when it comes to discourse and when it comes to narratives of nationwide strength and development.
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Extra info for Carbon Trading in China: Environmental Discourse and Politics
For example, the Australian ETS White Paper was split into two volumes extending to a total of 820 pages and the Australian Senate tabled 210 amendments before it was voted down twice (Spash, 2010). The EU ETS proposal had also gone through a prolonged legislative process before it was adopted (Wettestad, 2005). The numerous suggestions and amendments are indicative of the complex design of the policy and imply that the costs of implementation and quality control would be formidable. Complexity means considerable room for manipulation of the process by powerful vested interests, which is assumed to be non-existent in the idealised economic world (Spash, 2010).
Emissions reductions are fungible and spatially unbounded (Bumpus and Liverman, 2008; Knox-Hayes, 2010). The fungibility and unbounded spatiality are essential elements of carbon that allow the transfer of emissions reductions and the associated movement of capital in the carbon markets, transcending national boundaries and forming new governance networks and spaces. The pervasiveness of emissions and their sources maximises the geographic space in which carbon products and capital can flow and accumulate.
The politics or political economy is an important one and has become more so than ever as the markets grow bigger. The economic efficiency argument for emissions trading hinges upon the existence of an idealised perfect market for trading emissions permits or credits, and the actual carbon markets are often fraught with imperfections, such as the existence of market power and incomplete information (Spash, 2002). These imperfections need administrative fixes, resulting in significant variations in policy design from what theory requires.