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.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.