China's central government has unveiled an ambitious plan to begin cleaning up the country's degraded environment, proposing the introduction of a carbon tax, a levy on water use and higher taxes on coal.
The move by the Ministry of Finance to introduce a new set of environmental taxes comes after record air pollution across much of the country last month and reports in recent days about severely contaminated underground water supplies. In an article published on the ministry's website, the head of its tax policy division, Jia Chen, said the initiatives were designed to "preserve the environment".
"We should proactively push forward the reform of taxation related to the environment, such as replacing the existing pollution discharge fee by an environmental protection tax," he said.
"Carbon dioxide emissions should be subject to this tax." Mr Jia did not provide details about when the new taxes would be introduced, but the ministry first proposed a carbon tax in 2010