China creates new taxes to curb timber and energy use

China has announced an array of new “green taxes” on diverse goods — from throwaway chopsticks to golf balls to SUVs — to try and rein in deforestation and skyrocketing energy use. Chinese nibblers use around 45 billion pairs of disposable wooden chopsticks a year, which adds up to about 25 million full-grown trees, contributing to heavy pressure on the nation’s forests; those chopsticks will now be taxed an extra 5 percent. There will also be new or higher taxes on vehicles with engines larger than two liters, like SUVs and luxury sedans; the tax on smaller-engine autos will actually drop. China-manufactured cars tend to be smaller, while imports — notably American vehicles — generally feed the market for gas-guzzlers. The auto taxes may signal that some senior Chinese officials are reconsidering the phenomenal growth of China’s private-car economy, which is straining fuel resources and increasing air pollution. The new green taxes take effect on April 1.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.