Only days after two US Senators proposed a tax on carbon emissions a senior official with the Chinese Ministry of Finance said that China plans to proactively introduce a series of new taxation policies that are designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
Writing on the incomprehensible Ministry of Finance website Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, said that the government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions (at least, that’s what Xinhua News Agency says).
The tax would be collected by the local taxation authority rather than the environmental protection department, though when these new taxes are to be implemented is yet to be uttered.
Apparently, the Chinese government is also looking into whether to tax energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods like aircraft not used for public transportation.
The world is full of a variety of different carbon taxes — which simply put, is a tax on the carbon content of fuels. In Australia, that tax was originally set as $23 per tonne of carbon released into the atmosphere. It is a means of taxing ” activity that generates negative externalities” (Wikipedia: Pigovian tax).
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has come under flak for instituting a carbon tax, and it has become a central platform for opposition leader Tony Abbott’s 2013 election campaign.
Whereas, in the United States Senators Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders recently announced the Climate Protection Act proposal.
The carbon tax proposed would affect less than 3,000 entities across the US but cover 85% of US greenhouse gas emissions (statistics based on the Congressional Research Service). The legislation would end fossil fuel subsidies, protect communities by requiring that fracking operations comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act as well as require the operations to disclose the chemicals they use. (Planetsave.com)
No doubt Boxer and Sanders will come under heavy fire for even proposing a tax, and sitting here from the comfort of my Australian desk I would be surprised if the proposal ever made it out of committee at all, let alone with any of the teeth necessary to be of any use.
Maybe there is something to be said for China’s style of governance, then.
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