March 12 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
"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 a new
conservative government, is trying to abolish its carbon tax,
while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States.
China's Ministry of Environment currently collects a modest
levy on air pollution, waste water and solid waste. As China's
environmental problems have caused large-scale public anger the
past year, the ruling Communist Party wants to ramp up taxation
The Ministry of Finance and the National Development and
Reform Commission have both said a tax on carbon emissions might
be implemented in addition to China's planned emissions trading
scheme, its main policy to combat climate change, although
studies are still being carried out on how it would work.
(Reporting by Kathy Chen in BEIJING and Stian Reklev in ULAN
BATOR; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)