Christopher Mims discusses the announcement by China's Ministry of Finance, reported in state-owned news service Xinhua this week, that the country will begin taxing carbon dioxide emissions "to preserve the environment." While the details are scant, the announcement is noteworthy considering China "has earned a reputation for bogging down international efforts to tackle climate change," writes Brad Plumer in The Washington Post. "A carbon tax looks like a big about-face. And it’s more than anything Congress is proposing right now."
With Beijing suffering from oppressive air pollution, and a report released this week indicating that "the groundwater of 90 percent of Chinese cities is polluted," the carbon tax is being framed as part of a larger package of policies aimed at protecting the environment. "In the same announcement," notes Mims, "China’s Ministry of Finance said that direct taxes on resources, including coal and water, will also be forthcoming."