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Reforms for a Cleaner, Healthier Environment in China

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  • Sam Hill
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    Abstract

    China’s exceptional economic expansion has led to rising energy demand and pollution as well as other environmental pressures. Strong efforts by the government have moderated emissions of some types of air and water pollution from high levels but others, including greenhouse gas emissions, continue to rise. Poor air and water quality threaten human health, create other costs and reduce well-being. The 12th Five Year Plan aims at further reducing pollution and at other environmental improvements. To achieve these goals in a cost-effective manner wide-ranging reforms are needed. Reliance on command-and-control measures ought to make way gradually for well-implemented market-based approaches. Energy and water pricing need to be reformed to provide stronger incentives for end-users. So does pollution pricing. A carbon tax should be given serious consideration, especially if pilot carbon emissions trading schemes turn out to be difficult to implement. As well, stronger standards are needed, including for motor vehicles and fuels. Efforts to enhance environmental enforcement, particularly at the local level, will also be key to further progress. This Working Paper relates to the 2013 OECD Economic Survey of China (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/china). Des réformes pour assainir l'environnement en Chine L’expansion économique exceptionnelle de la Chine a entraîné une demande croissante d'énergie et une hausse de la pollution ainsi que d'autres pressions environnementales. Les efforts soutenus du gouvernement ont modéré les émissions de certains types de pollution de l’air et de l’eau à des niveaux élevés, mais d'autres, y compris les émissions de gaz à effet de serre continuent d'augmenter. La mauvaise qualité de l'eau et de l’air menace la santé humaine, crée des coûts supplémentaires et réduit le bien-être. Le 12e plan quinquennal vise à réduire la pollution et à améliorer l'environnement. Pour atteindre ces objectifs d'une manière rentable de vastes réformes sont nécessaires. La dépendance à l'égard des mesures de commandement et de contrôle devrait faire place progressivement à une bonne mise en oeuvre des approches fondées sur le marché. Les prix de l'énergie et de l'eau doivent être réformés pour fournir des incitations plus fortes pour les utilisateurs finaux. Il en va de même pour la tarification de la pollution. Une taxe carbone devrait être sérieusement prise en considération, surtout si les régimes pilotes d'échange d'émissions de carbone se révèlent difficiles à mettre en oeuvre. De plus, des normes plus strictes sont nécessaires, notamment pour les véhicules à moteur et les carburants. Les efforts visant à renforcer le respect de l'environnement, en particulier au niveau local, seront également essentiels à de nouveaux progrès. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l'Étude économique de la Chine de l’OCDE, 2013, (www.oecd.org/eco/etudes/chine).

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k480c2dh6kf-en
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 1045.

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    Date of creation: 17 Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1045-en

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    Keywords: health; environment; renewable energy; China; air pollution; carbon tax; cities; emissions trading scheme; water pollution; environmental taxation; pollution; energy; santé; pollution de l’air; systèmes d'échange d'émissions; pollution de l'eau; taxe carbone; pollution; fiscalité environnementale; Chine; énergie renouvelable; environnement;

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