BEIJING: China launched its long-awaited emissions trading system on Friday, a key tool in its quest to drive down climate change-causing greenhouse gases and go carbon-neutral by 2060.

The scheme was launched with China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, seeking to take a global leadership role on the climate crisis in the lead up to a crucial UN summit in November.

China has hailed it as laying the foundations for what would become the world's biggest carbon trading market, forcing thousands of Chinese companies to cut their pollution or face deep economic hits.

The program was launched just days after the European Union unveiled its detailed plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

However, deep questions remain over the limited scale and effectiveness of China's emission trading scheme including the low price placed on pollution.

More broadly, analysts and experts said much more needs to be done if China is to meet its environmental targets, which includes reaching peak emissions by 2030.

China's economic and energy policies are becoming more aligned with the government's environmental goals, according to Zhang Jianyu, vice president of Environmental Defense Fund China.