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Carbon accounting needs to be brought up to scratch

China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-01 07:57

An aerial view of a wind farm in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Tan Kaixing/For China Daily]

The world's first "carbon tariff", namely the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, has already begun its pilot operation and is scheduled to be officially implemented in 2026. The United States, Canada and Japan are also considering establishing similar carbon border adjustment mechanisms.

China's carbon footprint accounting system for products is still in its infancy and faces significant challenges in addressing the CBAM.

Enterprises have a low level of awareness regarding carbon footprint accounting. The government is relatively lenient in reviewing enterprises' environmental information disclosure. Enterprises often tend to choose simple and inexpensive carbon footprint accounting rather than building their own complete and accurate data accounting system.

The country lacks a comprehensive and internationally aligned standard system for carbon footprint accounting. There is a lack of unified database systems at both the national and industry levels. If enterprises want to conduct carbon footprint management, they can only rely on foreign carbon footprint data platforms or software for calculations.

China needs to build a carbon footprint accounting system, which requires cooperation from the national government, industries and enterprises. The government should establish a unified and standardized carbon footprint accounting and certification system, and the specific content should at least include a complete product list, clear accounting measurement methods, high-standard data quality monitoring and traceability requirements.

Industry authorities and associations need to further expand the general rules for calculating carbon emissions from products based on the characteristics of each industry and promote the research and publication of detailed rules for calculating carbon emissions from key and representative products in their respective industries. Relevant enterprises should actively conduct carbon footprint accounting based on their own production and operation practices.

Further, the government needs to actively promote the mutual recognition of carbon footprint accounting standards with international standards, especially to promote the mutual recognition of carbon footprint accounting standards and certification results with major economies such as the EU and the US. It should also explore and improve product certification systems that are more aligned with the new situation and rules of international trade.

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