The city of 15 million has slashed CO2 emissions and carbon intensity through a city-wide cap and trade scheme. Angeli Mehta reports

Shenzhen on the Pearl river delta, home to more than 15 million people, was the first of China’s seven emissions trading pilots.

With almost four years of a carbon market behind it, Shenzhen will provide valuable experience to inform the country’s national trading system, due to be launched by the end of the year.

Almost 20 years ago, Shenzhen became the country’s first “model city for environmental protection”. As a relatively young city it has encouraged hi-tech companies, tried to move away from more polluting industry, and shifted energy production from coal to gas.

It has got rid of energy-intensive businesses – 3,074 of them in 2014 alone – according to academics at the Harbin Institute of Technology. That has helped cut emissions from the manufacturing and energy sector. Shenzhen has pledged that its greenhouse gas emissions will peak by 2022, well ahead of the national target date of 2030.

Shenzhen’s carbon market covers about 40% of its total carbon emissions. Its stated goals were to cap enterprise emissions and reduce carbon intensity by 25%.

The latest figures, for 2015, show that 636 regulated companies cut emissions by around 5.8m tonnes compared to 2010,...

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