China to announce 2017 launch of carbon emissions trading market: US officials

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - China will announce on Friday (Sept 25) that it will launch a national carbon emissions trading market in 2017 as part of a joint climate change statement with the United States meant to boost prospects for a global climate pact, US officials said.

The statement will be one of the few policy announcements the two countries are expected to make during Chinese President Xi Jinping's meetings with US President Barack Obama. The leaders will meet amid tensions over alleged Chinese cyber spying, Beijing's economic policies and China's regional territorial disputes.

The "joint presidential statement" will build on the breakthrough announcement Xi and Obama made last year where both countries pledged targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020.

On Friday, they will outline new and existing domestic measures to show the world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses are serious about reaching those targets and will "lead the world toward a durable global climate agreement," the US official said.

For the first time, China will confirm that 2017 is its launch date for a national carbon market to help meet its goals of reducing emissions after they peak around 2030. The market will cover key sectors including power generation, iron and steel, chemicals and cement. "These sectors together produce a substantial percentage of China's climate pollution, and this reflects a significant policy move that the Chinese are announcing they will take," the US official told reporters on Thursday.

It will be designed based on what was learned from the seven regional pilot exchanges that are in operation in China.

The United States and China are also expected to announce commitments to finalise regulations to control emissions from heavy trucks, and make new proposals to cooperate on building efficiency and appliance standards.

The US official said China will also announce a pledge to provide aid to poor countries to help them adapt to climate change or adopt cleaner energy technology. Such funding is crucial for building support for a global climate change agreement to be reached in Paris in December from developing countries.

Chinese officials did not comment initially, but were planning to meet separately with Chinese media.