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Gujarat launches world’s first emission trading scheme (ETS) to combat particulate air pollution

Date: 06 June 2019 Tags: Organizations

Gujarat Government has launched world’s first emission trading scheme (ETS) to combat particulate air pollution in the state. It was launched o the occasion of World Environment Day 2019, which has air pollution as its theme. Globally, cap-and-trade systems are being used to reduce other forms of pollution, such as programmes that have successfully reduced sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the United States. But this is first such scheme in the world to regulate particulate air pollution.

Emission trading scheme (ETS)

  • It is a market-based system where government sets cap on emissions and allows industries to buy and sell permits to stay below the cap.
  • It was designed with help of team of researchers from Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC), Economic Growth Center at Yale University and others from Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).
  • It has been initiated by Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) on pilot basis in Surat, a densely populated industrial centre where textile and dye mills release significant amount of air pollution.
  • Features of scheme: Under this cap and trade system, GPCB first defines total mass of pollution that can be put into the air over a defined period by all factories put together.
  • Then it creates set of permits, each of which allows certain amount of pollution and the total is equal to the cap.
  • These permits can be bought and sold. Each factory is allocated a share of these permits. After this, plants can trade permits with each other, just like any other commodity.
  • It will enable factories who find it very expensive to reduce pollution to buy more permits. Those who can easily reduce pollution will be having excess permits to sell.
  • The reason for trading is that in cap and trade market, will enable GPCB to measure pollution over period of time and industries must own enough permits to cover their total emissions
  • Thus, whatever is final allocation, the total number of permits does not change so total pollution is still equal to the predefined cap.
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