Giving up a job with an annual salary of over 1 million yuan ($154,500) was not an easy choice for 38-year-old Zheng Gangda.
He quit as head of an environmental company affiliated with a public geological survey institution in May and then teamed up with some partners to establish a new company, Zhongtan Xinwangda Technology, in Chengdu, Sichuan's provincial capital.
The company provides training on carbon emissions management－expertise needed for the operation of the national carbon trading market－and aims to develop other low-carbon business lines.
"I am heading a group of green hands," Zheng said. "Though working under great pressure, I think it's something of great significance."
A two-day training session at the company costs 4,800 yuan, almost 70 percent of the monthly salary in Chengdu. Its first session in June attracted 30 people to listen to lectures given by experts from top research institutes. Zheng said he expects the number of participants will rise to 50 at this month's second session.
Zheng attended a training session provided by another company in Chengdu earlier this year, which strengthened his determination to explore opportunities in the low-carbon sector as the country forges ahead with meeting its climate commitments.
Carbon emission management was recognized as a new profession by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in March.
Li Gao, head of climate change at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said the ministry has sought to ramp up capacity building for the carbon trading market since 2018, when an institutional reshuffle saw it take on the responsibility for tackling climate change. The task was previously handled by the National Development and Reform Commission.
At least 60 training sessions have been organized for provincial-level environmental authorities, related institutions, and agencies that provide technical services for the construction of the market, Li told a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office on Wednesday.
He said a series of training sessions for provincial-level environmental authorities and companies in the power generation sector on the distribution of carbon emitting allowances had attracted more than 6,000 people.
Provincial training centers for capacity building on carbon trading, industrial associations and research institutes also offer a lot of training, he said.
The China Hubei Emission Exchange in Hubei province established a national training center for carbon trading in 2016.
Liu Hanwu, general manager of the exchange, said the center has endeavored to meet the demand for training emerging from different regions and industrial sectors.
Joining hands with the China Quality Certificate Center and Tsinghua University in Beijing, the center has offered training in six provincial-level regions, including the provinces of Anhui, Shandong and Guizhou, he said.
The center's cooperation with associations in six industrial sectors, including steel and papermaking, has seen over 6,000 workers trained, Liu said.
He said the center is striving to integrate field training into sessions it provides by establishing training bases in companies that are performing well in pilot carbon trading arrangements.
"During the field visit, experts will explain key points in carbon emissions reporting and verification," he said.
"Bringing trainees to the forefront of carbon emission management, such a training approach combines theories and practice and could help yield much better training results."
With four field training bases already in operation, the center is making efforts to extend the mode to seven of the eight industrial sectors that will be covered by the national carbon trading market, he said. The exception is the aviation sector.
The Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences has been providing training on carbon asset management and carbon emission verification since March.
Training sessions jointly provided by the society and Beijing Normal University's Green Development Institute have attracted over 1,000 people from across the country, the society said.
Aside from workers from companies that provide consulting services on carbon trading, those attending the training sessions also include employees from research institutions, universities and energy-saving technology providers, it said.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean that all participants in the training will work in carbon emissions management.
Fifty-year-old Rao Li, one of the participants in the first training session run by Zheng's company, is an example. She used to head a train crew but was shifted to the railway's logistics department two years ago.
She said she considers the training a good opportunity to learn about the national drive for low-carbon development.
"Low carbon development is an irresistible trend," Rao said."If we don't all throw ourselves into action, we are going to suffer from an increasingly worse environment."