China may impose carbon tax in 2012: NDRC

Posted on 13 May 2010

China's steel industry, one of the country's largest producers of greenhouse gases, is coming under increased pressure to curb its gas emissions. This follows a comment from a senior central government official that Beijing could impose a carbon tax as soon as 2012, with the initial tax rate of RMB 10-20/tonne ($1.5-3/t) of carbon dioxide emissions.


An official from China's powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said at a recent environmental protection conference that a preliminary investigation into imposing the tax have been completed.


Local media quote the official as saying the carbon tax would be introduced during the twelfth five-year plan (2011-2015), probably around 2012. The government plans to use the funds generated by the taxes on providing subsidies to environmental protection sectors and ‘green' companies, the reports said.


At the same conference, a northern Chinese steel mill suggested that before the authorities introduce the tax they should take into consideration the tax pressures that enterprises already face. But he agreed that low-carbon development must inevitably be the trend now.


Some industry experts warned earlier that with China's crude steel production set to exceed 600m tonnes in 2010, reducing emissions will present a severe challenge, as Steel Business Briefing reported. China's steel industry typically emits around 2 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of crude steel, SBB notes.


China's central government is now adopting a stronger stance to encourage the development of a low-carbon economy, SBB observes. Last November China announced it will reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% within the next ten years from 2005 levels.


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