China Reconsiders Carbon Tax, Citing Australia’s Planned Repeal

  • Date: 16/03/14
  • The Sydney Morning Herald

China is reconsidering plans for a carbon tax as local air pollution trumps concerns over climate change and some rich nations back away from imposing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, a top official said.

Premier Li Keqiang last week declared war on pollution, which is expected to speed up the process of turning China’s limited environmental levy into a full-blown tax targeting the nation’s major polluters.

But the all-out efforts to combat China’s disastrous pollution levels might get in the way of plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions in a bid to stunt the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions, Zhu Guangyao, the vice environment minister, said.

“We have to reflect the requests of the majority through many consultation rounds,” he told the Beijing Morning Post from the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary sessions.

A carbon tax is increasingly controversial among lawmakers, said Zhu, adding that an environment tax would be easier to push through without carbon in the mix.

The carbon and air pollution taxes would target mostly the same sources, and in difficult economic times China is wary of hitting companies with too many costly regulations.

Zhu also referred to the fact that Australia, under the Abbott government, is trying to abolish the country’s carbon tax, while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States.

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