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China considers ways of reducing emissions

By Karl Wilson and Alfred Romann (China Daily)

08:22, June 15, 2012

Twenty six newly wed couples held a group wedding on the first day of 2012 in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, aiming to raise the public awareness of environmental protection and a low-carbon lifestyle. (China Daily/Li Manqing)

Despite leading in some aspects of green technology, such as solar and wind power, China still faces a fight to reduce its level of emissions.

In November, Beijing expanded its resources tax across the nation after more than a year of trials and is considering a tax on carbon emissions. In doing so the government hopes to channel money and resources into green energy projects, including research and development.

The resources tax not only covers the country's oil and gas giants, but will also be extended to include iron ore, coking coal and rare earth ores. Coal, which is widely used by the general public, has not been included in the tax.

China hopes the tax will help local governments to offset some of the environmental damage caused by mining in the poorer and more remote corners of the country.

Resources taxes are seen as a way of addressing some of these discrepancies, according to Christopher Xing, a partner at the auditor KPMG in Hong Kong. "It's a local tax collected by local governments. They are the main beneficiaries," he said. "This could become a significant source of revenue for those governments."

While the government says the tax has not had an affect on downstream businesses or consumer prices, the profits of oil and gas companies are likely to be hit.

The tax has also replaced the royalties that were previously paid by foreign-invested onshore and offshore oil and gas fields, meaning that it will also affect global energy giants such as Shell, Chevron and BP and smaller independent companies, although to a lesser degree.

"The consumer will not face price hikes," said Xing, at least not right away. Eventually, however, higher costs are bound to make their way down the supply chain, he added.

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