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China leading world on climate change?

Huw Slater at East Asia Forum thinks so

He argues that a carbon tax in China is being considered within the period of the 12th Five Year Plan, beginning next year.  A workshop I attended earlier this year suggested the same.  My own work suggests that strategically China needs to mitigate its emissions because it has no alternative. It will be devastated by climate change and its individual emissions impact on its future.  It is not a ‘small’ country.

China was obstructionist at Copenhagen but Premier Wen Jiabao announced then that China was committing to a reduction in emissions intensity of its economy of 40-45% by 2020 over 2005 levels. This is a difficult to achieve target but one that is possible given substantial economy-wide energy inefficiencies.

The possibility of carbon pricing provides hope. While the initial price is suggested to be as low as 20 Yuan per tonne CO2, it will be progressively increased over time, making inefficient coal-fired power stations less attractive and further increasing the competitiveness of wind, solar and other technologies. Worth a read and some valuable links in the original post.

China is certainly outperforming Australia and the US.  So too – from the other end of the scale – for that matter is New Zealand which has announced it will unilaterally move towards an emissions trading scheme despite the  cowardice of its big brothers.

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