China backing away from carbon tax in 2013, official says

China will wait until after this year to introduce a tax on carbon, deferring to concern that economic growth might suffer, a government researcher said.

The nation eventually expects to introduce a levy of 5 yuan to 10 yuan (80 cents to $1.61) per ton of carbon, Jia Kang, head of research at the Ministry of Finance, said in Beijing yesterday. The tax, proposed in China’s latest five-year plan, was intended to apply to carbon emissions from fossil fuels, KPMG International said in a May 2011 report.

The carbon tax is “still in internal discussions,” as there is “obvious opposition,” Jia said without identifying the opponents.

The delay comes just as China, the world’s biggest emitter, steps up effort to reduce greenhouse gases and improve energy efficiency. The government will cut emissions and energy use per unit of gross domestic product by at least 3.7 percent in 2013, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday. The previous target was 3.5 percent.

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