The Political Economy of Carbon Tax: International Practice and the Australian Model
Carbon taxes create incentives for controlling greenhouse gases by putting a price on these emissions. In theory major carbon emitters would pay more under an effective carbon tax. In practice political considerations often dominate and consequently compromise effectiveness in emissions mitigation. Australia's carbon pricing mechanism is a recent example. It involves the use of a fixed-price instrument that resembles a carbon tax and will eventually turn into an emission trading scheme and enable price fluctuation. The policy design is however questionable for overcompensating big polluters and legitimizing the failure to curb emissions domestically. This paper offers a review of the development of carbon tax policies in various national contexts with a focus on Australia. Lessons from the international practices could provide a useful reference for China to advance its timely commitment to establishing a carbon pricing system.
Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies