Natasha Reda
Updated Dec 19, 2017 @ 12:51 pm
Credit: Tao Zhang/Getty Images

On Tuesday, December 19th, the world’s biggest polluter, China, unveiled plans to reduce carbon emissions through a new economic incentive system. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration made a promise to launch a national carbon market which will essentially force companies to pay for permits to pollute.

To put it in simpler terms, a “carbon market” — as it’s called — encourages countries and companies to limit their carbon dioxide output in order to decrease greenhouse gases.

The launch of the long-awaited announcement is a sign that China is serious about going green. Unlike President Donald Trump, who plans on dropping climate change from his list of national security threats, China is keeping its promise to fight pollution.

Although the Chinese government did not issue a hard timeline for implementing the incentives, it plans to begin the initiative within the power sector first. Considering the fact that coal-burning is responsible for nearly 3.3 billion tons of carbon emissions in China annually, that’s definitely a good place to start.

For now, only companies that emit more than 26,000 tons of carbon dixoide will be included in the market. However, the minimum will decrease in the future.

If China’s plan is successful, they could very well secure their status as a climate leader, especially now that the U.S. has taken a step back.