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Effective Carbon Rates 2018

Pricing Carbon Emissions Through Taxes and Emissions Trading

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Decarbonisation keeps climate change in check and contributes to cleaner air and water. Countries can price CO2-emissions to decarbonise their economies and steer them along a carbon-neutral growth path. Are countries using this tool to its full potential? This report measures carbon pricing of CO2-emissions from energy use in 42 OECD and G20 countries, covering 80% of world emissions. The analysis takes a comprehensive view of carbon prices, including specific taxes on energy use, carbon taxes and tradable emission permit prices. The ‘carbon pricing gap’ measures how much the 42 countries, together as well as individually, fall short of pricing emissions in line with levels needed for decarbonisation. On aggregate, the ‘carbon pricing gap’ indicates how advanced the 42 countries are with the implementation of market-based tools to decarbonise their economies. At the country level, the gap can be seen as an indicator of long-run competitiveness.

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Executive Summary

Pricing carbon emissions allows countries to smoothly steer their economies towards and along a carbon-neutral growth path. By putting a price on carbon emissions, countries can increase resource efficiency, boost investment in clean energy, develop and sell low-emission goods and services, and increase resilience to risks inherent in deep structural change. Failing to price carbon emissions now, increases the risk that the planet overheats, with average temperatures increasing by five or more degrees. Adaptation to such increases might be possible, but would likely be extremely costly. Decisive action to reduce the risk is by far the better option.

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