Cartoon: By Bill Leak.
The government and their coalition partners, the Greens are wildly ecstatic at the news that China intends to introduce a carbon tax, maybe by 2015. The government touts this as further evidence the rest of the world is acting to cut global greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately for Gillard, China is not the rest of the world, nor is this a serious tax.
It is more like a Claytons tax, set at an extremely low rate and according to their government media, only likely to be levied on large users of coal, crude oil and natural gas. China is not following us in any way, setting a price of $1.55 per ton as opposed to our $23 per ton and rising across the entire economy. Their tax is one fifteenth of ours, and selectively applied.
While Gillard and company are aiming at a reduction of the overall carbon emissions here, China is using the more nebulous term of emissions as a proportion of GDP. Given that their GDP is rising at a rapid rate and they are replacing aging and inefficient infrastructure with modern efficient power stations and nuclear, they are setting an easier task than we are.
This highlights another problem for Australia as far as emission reductions go; China has been spending heavily on nuclear and state of the art modern coal fired power stations, while we have been pissing billions against the wall on subsidies for wind and rooftop solar, ethanol, green schemes, putting pink bats into homes, inspecting them for dangerous installation, and repairing the ones that were really screwed up.
China Daily reports:
The main targets of the tax will be large users of coal, crude oil and natural gas, and tax cuts will be given to companies that take steps to reduce their emissions, Su said.This indicates that not only is it a low tax, but it is very selectively applied. We are already at a significant disadvantage to China, but now we are slugging a higher proportion of our industry with a tax that is fifteen times that of our competitor. Meanwhile, warmist Graham Lloyd is thrilled at the symbolism of the Chinese move:
Jiang Kejun, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission's Energy Research Institute, who helped draft the tax proposal, said the tax is likely to be collected only from producers and wholesalers of fossil-fuel based energy. This will make it easier to collect the tax. "But it may still raise the price of energy," Jiang said. …
"But 2012 may not be a good time to introduce carbon taxes, considering the risk (they might introduce) of slowing economic growth," Su said. He said the taxes will begin to be collected by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).
THE symbolism of China's decision to push ahead with a carbon tax before 2015 speaks much louder than the modest rate at which the fixed starting price has been set. (The left tend to think that it is much more important to display the proper symbolism than to be correct.)Wealthier citizens tend to reach first for more consumer goods and tend to demand the energy resources to run them rather than worry too much about the environmental trappings. This move is more to do with doing the minimum they can get away with in order to quell pressure from the Europeans, who have saddled themselves with a green economy that is not working out too well for them and are threatening trade retaliation.
Together with the introduction of a carbon trading scheme covering some of the China's most heavily industrialised regions about the same time, the new tax plan builds on an undeniable trend. …
Politically, with billions of people worldwide making the transition to middle class, the reality is wealthier citizens make greater demands on government for clean air and better surroundings. …