Carbon tax is a powerful incentive to mitigate carbon emissions and promote energy revolutions. It is of vital importance to systematically explore and examine the socio-economic impacts of levying a carbon tax, such that desired compromises among socio-economic and environmental objectives can be identified. In order to fill the research gap on the stepped carbon tax, this study is to develop a factorial computable general equilibrium (FCGE) model for examining the interactive effects of multiple policy options (e.g., grouping of emission intensity/level, and relevant tax rates), and supporting the formulation of desired carbon-mitigation policies. It is discovered that (1) carbon tax of 18.37 to 38.25 Yuan/ton is a reasonable policy alternative for China; (2) the stepped carbon tax (high level on coal-related fuels) is more efficiency than conventional carbon tax policy; (3) the positive effects for reducing carbon emission intensity can be strengthened with an increasing step range; (4) interactive effects between stepped carbon taxes on coal-related energies and crude oil related energies should be jointly considered by the policy makers.

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