In a new step toward tackling climate change, China has announced it will be implementing a carbon tax on harmful CO2 emissions.
China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the planet combined, meaning it’s no surprise that aside from housing the largest portion of the world’s population, is also now the world’s largest emitter. Even the United States has been experiencing a decline, with emissions recently reaching a 20-year low.
The local taxation authority will collect the carbon tax, as opposed to the environmental protection department. The government is also looking into taxing high-energy use products.
The Chinese government will also be pushing tax reforms to conserve natural resource, including raising the coal tax and basing it off prices rather than sales volume. There will also be a resource tax on water.
There are no specifics yet on when it will start or how much it will be, but experts have suggested a tax of 10 yuan per ton of CO2 in 2012, and increasing it to 50 yuan per ton by 2020.
China’s current goal for cutting emissions is to reduce 2005 emission levels by 40-45% by 2020. There is a lot of work to be done, but a carbon tax may have a big impact on reaching this goal.
Image CC licensed by eutrophication & hypoxia: Factory pollution in China