BEIJING May 1 Chinese state thinktank
researchers will soon issue preliminary proposals for a carbon
tax that may one day become part of the government's efforts to
tame growing greenhouse gas emissions, experts told local
Su Ming, deputy director of an institute under China's
Ministry of Finance, said the research on a carbon tax had been
requested by that ministry and the Ministry of Environmental
Protection and the proposal may be published "within a month,"
the National Business Daily reported on Thursday.
Su told the paper the proposal was part of a package of
possible taxes on environmental damage under study. The others
are taxes on sulphur dioxide and ammonia pollutants, as well as
on waste water.
"At a time when calls for the globe to control emissions of
carbon dioxide are growing louder...promotion of environmental
taxes is much needed," Su said, according to the paper.
The carbon tax proposal, however, appears a long way from
the prospect of implementation.
China has said it is up to rich countries to lead the way
in cutting greenhouse gases fueling global warming. But its
government has promoted a series of domestic initiatives it
says are restraining the country's greenhouse gas emissions by
factories, power plants and vehicles.
A carbon tax would potentially cover carbon dioxide
emissions from fossil fuels and other sources that are
accumulating in the atmosphere, trapping growing amounts of
solar radiation that could dangerously overheat the planet.
China is mankind's biggest source of CO2, the main
greenhouse gas, and produces about 80 percent of its
electricity from coal-fired power stations, and is also the
world's largest producer of power from coal.
Other governments have been pressing Beijing to sign up to
targets for controlling and eventually cutting carbon dioxide
emissions as part of a new global climate pact that negotiators
hope to seal by the end of the year.
But Beijing says it and other developing countries should
not be forced to accept mandatory emissions caps to solve a
global warming problem caused by developed countries.
China's 1.3 billion people produce about 4 tonnes of
greenhouse gases per head, compared with the U.S. average of
about 20 tonnes per person.
China has introduced a tax on oil products and reformed
pricing rules for such products to better reflect market
But Jiang Kejun, director of the Energy Research Institute,
a leading Chinese policy thinktank, said a carbon tax would not
entirely replace the fuel tax.
"The fuel tax is to save energy and reduce (pollution)
emissions, but the goal of introducing a carbon tax would be to
reduce carbon (emissions)", the report cited him as saying.
He and Su Ming could not be contacted on Friday, a May Day
public holiday in China.
(Reporting by Chris Buckley)