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February 20 News: China Will Introduce A Carbon Tax

By Jeff Spross on February 20, 2013 at 9:29 am

"February 20 News: China Will Introduce A Carbon Tax"

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According to a senior official with China’s Ministry of Finance (MOF), the country is preparing to introduce a new set of new taxation policies designed to preserve the environment and conserve resources, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. [XinHua]

The government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, wrote in an article published on the MOF’s website.

The government is also looking into the possibility of taxing energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods such as aircraft that are not used for public transportation, according to Jia.

To conserve natural resources, the government will push forward resource tax reforms by taxing coal based on prices instead of sales volume, as well as raising coal taxes. A resource tax will also be levied on water.

The Koch brothers’ political network is doing some serious self-assessment in the wake of the 2012 election — but they’re not waiting for the final report for heads to roll. [Politico]

BP has won an agreement from the Justice Department that there will be no penalties on the barrels of crude oil the company was able to recapture during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, cutting the company’s potential Clean Water Act fines by $900 million to $3.5 billion. [WaPo]

A bill introduced in the Kansas House would require the state’s schools to provide evidence in classrooms both for and against the existence of climate change. [SFGate]

A senior Environmental Protection Agency official overseeing states in the West and Great Plains resigned Friday, amid intense congressional scrutiny over how EPA appointees have used personal e-mail addresses to conduct official business. [NYTimes]

A major snowstorm is poised to deliver much-needed precipitation to areas from central and southern California to the Rockies and Plains states during the next several days. Parts of Kansas and Nebraska may pick up more than a foot of snow. [Climate Central]

The environmental committee of the European Parliament voted to reduce the number of carbon emitting permits to be auctioned over the next three years, in order to shore a crash in the price of carbon caused by a surplus of the allowances. [NYTimes]

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13 Responses to February 20 News: China Will Introduce A Carbon Tax

  1. John McCormick says:

    Here is an excerpt of an op-ed I am submitting for publication:

    As President Obama begins to impose new and tighter restrictions on CO2, he must fashion an understanding with China, the largest emitter. There is only one path he can embark upon; a bi-lateral agreement with China. He will need a team of negotiators working from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to persuade Chinese leaders this is a national security challenge for our countries. From this can come a joint plan of action to de-carbonize and prepare to adapt our economies to climate change.

    Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission last year. In March, he is set to become China’s President. Certainly President Obama will either invite, or be invited by, the new President. That congratulatory meeting can be the stepping off point for Obama to begin a long and arduous negotiation with Xi who holds an engineering degree.

    They will not be starting from a blank page. China is slowly and steadily imposing a tax on carbon content of fuels it consumes. Many U.S. power plants are shifting away from coal to cheaper natural gas with its lower carbon content. Obama’s tougher automobile efficiency standards reduce gasoline consumption. These are not tiny steps but the long journey to a stable global climate must advance from a crawl to a sprint.

    America negotiated a peaceful resolve of the Cuban missile crisis and then the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the USSR during the cold war. Certainly we can begin a fruitful dialogue with our primary creditor. We share the risks and vulnerabilities climate change is bringing to America and China.

    When the two men do meet and shake hands, President Obama should say, “Mr. President let’s talk seriously about climate change and our children’s’ future”.

  2. fj says:

    Not requiring bi-lateral agreement a Chinese carbon tax seems to be really good news and indicative that the United Sates must act immediately with wartime urgency.

  3. Sasparilla says:

    The devil is in the details of what a Chinese Carbon tax will be, but if its for real, it will take away another (specious) straw-man reason Deniers like to use to not move forward against climate change.

    • Paul Klinkman says:

      Credit where credit is due. China is a planned economy and they are changing their markets to plan for the future.

      They have one advantage. China doesn’t have an entrenched multinational energy production industry, other than its new wind and solar moguls, so that helps them make the decision.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        China’s great advantage is that is Government actually governs. In Western neo-liberal capitalist economies politicians are bought and sold, by the gross, by the real power-money. In China the system is meritocratic, not telegenic, and PR dissimulation has not taken hold as the means to advance oneself. Chinese leaders are rational and not suicidal, so one fully expects these measures to be implemented, and be a good example for others. The Chinese/ German axis may yet save us.

  4. BillD says:

    The carbon tax could also help air quality in China, a really big health problem, as well as a good step on slowing climate change. Which country to will be next with a carbon tax? Perhaps the EU will do it in unison. How about the UK or Japan?

  5. Bill Wilson says:

    Another reason not to build KeystoneXL. They do not want more dirty carbon that burns dirtier than coal and considering trail of pollution across the world just to burn it one more nail and reason to keep it in the ground and safe.

  6. Joan Savage says:

    The xinhua article closed with a couple of statements I don’t have the means to interpret. Is the yuan rate reasonable in the Chinese economy? and, what would the Chinese unit, “carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output” look like in, and to, other parts of the world?

    “In 2010, MOF experts suggested levying a carbon tax in 2012 at 10 yuan per tonne of carbon dioxide, as well as recommended increasing the tax to 50 yuan per tonne by 2020.”

    “China is among the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas and has set goals for cutting emissions. The government has vowed to reduce carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output, by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 in comparison to 2005 levels.”

    • David B. Benson says:

      One yuan is US$0.16.

      • Joan Savage says:

        So, we’d need to know how US$1.60 looks compared to the cost of a tonne of coal in China in 2012, in that is it enough to influence consumers?

        Similar question arises about the effectiveness easing it up to US$8.00 per tonne by 2020.

        But the phrase, ““carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output,” makes me really nervous. It sounds like a rather limber measure, similar to the US tendency to talk efficiency while still being the second largest carbon emitter nation.