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China rolls back climate efforts after economic officials prioritise growth

The Wall Street Journal

Chinese authorities have limited the scope of a carbon-trading scheme as driving growth takes priority

Behind the scenes, economic planners had weakened provisions of the scheme, fearing the potential impact on growth, according to people familiar with the matter. […]

Rather than giving priority to the reining in of fossil-fuel consumption now, officials at the economic planning office want to seize the momentum of the global post-pandemic recovery, even if it means elevated emissions in the short term, according to people familiar with the matter.

On May 31, at the behest of economic planners, China’s steel hub Tangshan ordered the loosening of emissions restrictions for its steelmakers—undoing a March directive that came after environmental ministry inspectors found the companies in violation of environmental regulations and instructed the companies to cut emissions by 30% to 50%.

Some Chinese provinces have mounted resistance to the emissions reductions mandated by Beijing, warning of power supply shortages. In coastal Guangdong province, for example, plants were asked to curb power use and suspend operations for hours or in some cases days, cutting into production and revenue.

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