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China Reconsiders Carbon Tax, Citing Australia’s Planned Repeal

from the March 18, 2014 eNews issue

Environmentalism is running square into the jaws of reality now that China is reconsidering its plan for a carbon tax while rethinking its stance on the basic science of “Global Warming” and greenhouse gasses.

For China, a bigger concern is environmental pollution a greenhouse tax, may have to make way for a broader tax.

Last week, China’s Premier Li Keqiang declared war on pollution, which is expected to impact polluters by substituting a limited environmental tax into a full-blown emissions tax.

In the war on pollution, carbon dioxide, or greenhouse gas, is seen as a relatively benign air pollutant even by Global Warming advocates when compared to other pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide (a contributor to “acid rain”), and sulfur monoxide. So, the all-out effort to combat China’s lethally high pollution levels might get in the way of plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions, according to Zhu Guangyao, the government’s environment vice minister.

“We have to reflect the requests of the majority through many consultation rounds,” Zhu 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.

Also, Zhu noted the fact that Australia, under the Abbott government, will abolish the carbon tax as of July 1 of this year, while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States Congress.

(For a list of carbon tax repeal bills available for reading, visit their Repealing the Carbon Tax page).

China’s Ministry of Environment currently collects a modest tax on air, water and solid waste pollution. The ruling Communist party in the country wants to increase these taxes due to public anger over the country’s poor environmental quality.

While 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, there is considerable doubt whether the Zhu government would follow through on these plans and risk the ire of the business oligarchy in the country.

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