China will impose a new tax on carbon-dioxide emissions as part of policies aimed at protecting the environment and improving air quality, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
In an article on its Web site, the ministry did not go into specifics nor provide a timetable but it said municipal authorities would be responsible for collecting the tax.
Coal-fired power producers have paid pollution-discharge fees for their sulfur-dioxide emissions for the past decade, but carbon dioxide thus far has not been taxed.
In 2010, the Finance Ministry proposed that a tax of 10 yuan ($1.60) per ton of carbon dioxide be imposed starting in 2012 and increased to 50 yuan by 2020, but no such levy has yet been introduced.
Dangerously high air pollution levels last month in China's main cities heaped pressure on authorities to adopt green policies, including requiring the country's biggest refineries to speed up the process for improving gasoline quality.
China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has pledged to cut carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by between 40-45 percent in 2020 relative to 2005 levels. EFE