buslanesbeijing.jpgCongratulations to Tianping Auto Insurance, which becomes China's first company to put its hand in its pocket and voluntarily buy carbon emission credits to offset the environmental impact of its business.

Tianping had to bid for the credits, which were approved for trading on the fledgling China Beijing Environment Exchange (CBEX) in December 2008.

Shanghai-based Tianping Auto Insurance signed a deal to pay 270,000 yuan for 8,000 tons of emitted carbon, which the firm produced during the last four years.

According to CBEX, the 8,000-ton carbon emission reduction was achieved by more than 81,000 Beijing citizens choosing to use public transportation rather than private vehicles during last year's Beijing Olympics.

But experts don't expect any other Chinese businesses to follow in the footsteps of Tianping Auto Insurance. Being green is not high on the business agenda in China and there's little political support for mandatory emissions trading schemes.

China has long argued that because it is developing nation, it should not held to binding C02 reduction targets like those that are now being implemented or proposed in many developed economies around the world.

Indeed, China has traditionally been seen as the primary beneficiary of the numerous carbon trading schemes that now exist in the west.

In return for continuing to pump out CO2, western industries buy carbon credits from wind farms and other green projects in emerging economies using the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

More on CDM in these posts.

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