More on the Chinese carbon tax

Tonnes and tonnes of coal in China

Tonnes and tonnes of coal in ChinaA year ago I was relating how China, the largest greenhouse gases emitter, was willing to tax carbon by 2015. It seems the local government is pretty serious about it as last week’s news show.

To the Clean Revolution : ” China’s Finance Ministry has announced a new set of green taxation policies, including a tax on carbon which will help curb emissions, improve air quality and incentivize the clean energy industry. “

As China consumes almost half of the coal in the world, it’s to be hoped that this carbon tax will change things. But will the low level be enough ?

Indeed, to Quartz, previous reports were mentioning taxes as low as 10 yuan ($1.60) per tonne of carbon in 2015, rising to 50 yuan ($8) per tonne by 2020. This is very little.

But, if this were to become true, this would still be enough to levy dozen of billion dollars in the country to finance low carbon projects and adaptation to climate change.

The implications of even a small carbon tax are absolutely huge and stunning. As Motherboard explains :

This is huge. In the climate policy arena, it’s downright ginormogantic. We’ll have to wait to scrutinize the details, but the proposal alone is momentous: Half the coal plants in the world, taxed in favor of environmentally-preferable energy sources.

Indeed, this would clearly be an enormous boost to solar, wind and the likes as this would also ensure a faster grid parity for renewable energy. We have seen in the past few weeks that grid parity is already a reality in Australia and part of the United States, two coal-rich nations.

To conclude, we saw last month how air has become irrespirable in Beijing, a phenomenon dubbed since airpocalypse. Let’s hope this carbon tax will start addressing the issue as climate change is also becoming a major problem.

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