The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top planning agency, has announced a decision to require all companies that emitted more than 13,000 tons of CO2 in 2010 to report their future annual emissions of all 6 major greenhouse gases.  The NDRC’s statement came in connection with the Chinese government’s plan to build a national carbon market.

According to the NDRC’s statement “[t]he reporting is to tighten the control over major emitters, provide statistics for capping greenhouse gas emissions and launch a carbon trading scheme.”  Currently, the lack of credible emissions data is one of the key challenges in building the national carbon market.  Imposing realistic facility-level carbon caps is difficult if no one has accurate emissions data.  What is clear is that China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, but has pledged to cut emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.   The NDRC did not specify when mandatory reporting would begin, but analysts have reported that they expect the rule to come into effect in 2015.

The completion of the future carbon market is Beijing’s most important policy in furthering its stated goal of emissions cuts.  Pilot programs are set to begin in 7 cities and provinces in preparation of a national market launch projected at some time between 2017 and 2020.  The NDRC did not specify a plan for how and when appropriate monitoring equipment would be installed across the many thousands of facilities in China covered by the new rule.  Some experts note that installing equipment and verifying the data could be major challenges for many, especially in China’s underdeveloped western region.