China will begin implementing its long-awaited new green tax by 2015, a senior Chinese official said over the weekend, indicating that the country will rely more on the market instruments to achieve its target of lowering carbon emission.
"The new green tax is likely to help boost fiscal revenue and make room for adjustments in corporate tax," said Jia Kang, director of the Institute of Fiscal Science under the Ministry of Finance, in Shanghai Saturday.
The remarks indicate that the Chinese government has prioritized the tax reform in its agenda, analysts said.
Environmental taxes are typically designed to include the social costs of the carbon footprint of production and procurement of goods, noted Wang Can, professor at the Research Center for In
ternational Environmental Policy at Tsinghua University.
"The implementation of the green tax would be a step forward in regulating the use of resources and energy," Wang told the Global Times.
Calls for a comprehensive environmental tax have grown in recent years, as China's breakneck development has taken a heavy toll on its resources and environment.
However, some believe that the tax only scratches the surface of the country's environmental problems.
"The root cause of environmental degradation is an unsustainable economic growth model and a lack of effective punishment for big polluters," Han Zhiguo, an independent economist in Beijing, yesterday wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site.
"The green tax, a short-term remedial measure, may finally turn into another burden for companies and consumers."
"The government should prevent abuse of the tax by some local governments to gain revenues," Zhou Ji, an environmental economics and management professor at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.