China is not a country well known for it’s environmental practices. From pigs floating down the Huangpu river, a main source of drinking water, to smog so thick it can cause serious, and permanent, health problems, China’s environmental record is well known.

Yet recently it has been reported that Beijing is considering a voluntary carbon emissions cap. In addition to helping the environment, his action could improve general perceptions of the fast-growing economy while aiding its economic shift away from infrastructure, heavy industry and imported resource dependence.

This could be a big opportunity for environmentally friendly companies abroad that may feel a shift in spending in this sector.

As the party begins to speak about the issue, it is becoming more widely discussed by the people as well, leading to further education about eco-efficient alternatives to many household products. This is a sector that is anticipated to boom in the coming years.

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China is looking at introducing tough controls on its carbon pollution as soon as 2016, in a shift that could boost talks on a global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, an official at the heart of state carbon policy has said.

Mr Jiang, a carbon policy researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission, said: “I am sure China will have a total emission target during the 13th five-year plan.”

No official announcement has been made about an absolute emissions cap but Mr Jiang’s comments mark the first time China’s carbon policy makers have spoken publicly about such a plan. His remarks are in line with a shift in China’s position that some say has been evident in recent closed climate talks outside the formal UN negotiations.

Part of the reason for China’s enthusiasm for controlling emissions is that policy makers see these controls as a way to rebalance China’s economy away from energy-intensive, resource-intensive sectors and towards “cleaner” sectors such as services and technology.

Read more from CNN here.

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