This paper makes the case for establishing a national CO2 price in China as soon as possible. End-of-pipe pollution control technologies—a core component of China’s Air Pollution Action Plan (APAP)—can address local air pollution but not CO2 emissions. It concludes by emphasizing how the introduction of a CO2 price could ensure air pollution control does not come at the expense of sound, long-term climate change management. By putting early pressure on carbon intensive energy sources also responsible for air pollution, a CO2 price would reduce the extent of end-of-pipe air pollution controls needed to achieve air quality goals, thereby preventing carbon lock-in.

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