Map Monday: World Carbon Prices

Via Carbon Brief, here’s an (interactive) world map showing the price people pay for a pound of CO2 in each nation around the world.


The US has a “per-ton of CO2” price of 85 cents, versus $26.21 in Germany or $3.79 in Canada (for example). Note that this is the “effective carbon price,” which is a relatively tricky measure to calculate involving both the energy and construction industries.

Here’s what the author of the map, Simon Evans, has to say [emphasis mine]:

An effective carbon price of €14 per tonne of CO2, averaged across the 41 countries it assessed and including road transport, industry, power stations and buildings. It says this is far short of the long-term economic damage associated with warming emissions, which it puts at a minimum of €30/tCO2.

A few countries do measure up to this mark. However, many more have effectively non-existent carbon prices, even when you take energy taxes into account. In total, the OECD says some 90% of CO2 emissions are not priced adequately.

The map below shows the average effective carbon price for industry, power and buildings ranging from €0/t in Russia up to €55/t in the Netherlands. The US, China and India, the world’s three top emitters, all have negligible carbon prices.

The key point is that many European countries are far ahead of the US when it comes to taxing carbon emissions. I guess we already knew that, but it’s interesting to see the size of the difference mapped out. I feel that it will be almost impossible to make any significant progress on reducing carbon emissions without increasing the cost of emissions through policies like carbon or gas taxes.

1 thought on “Map Monday: World Carbon Prices

  1. Matthew

    Some would say the key point is actually that the US is behind China.

    ( the following quote is from )

    “[China’s] scheme will unify nascent pilot carbon markets currently operating in five Chinese cities and two provinces. The programme is expected to capture approximately 4 billion of China’s 13 billion tonnes of CO2e emissions each year by covering about 10,000 companies in eight industries, including aviation, chemicals, construction materials, diversified metals, paper & forestry, precious metals, steel and utilities. With initial carbon allowances expected to trade for USD 6, the Chinese market could be worth upwards of USD 24bn in its first year.”

    I can’t help but feel that Simon Evans is guilty of false equivalence when he says that both the US and China have negligible carbon prices. A carbon price of zero is qualitatively different from a very low carbon price; it is characteristic of a failed state that lacks the institutional capacity to enforce a code of law.

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