brand-new U.N. Climate Report Says Put a High cost on Carbon

“the item is actually safe to say which policies additional than carbon pricing have driven the majority of emissions reductions to date,” said Jesse Jenkins, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

One possible reason for which: While government regulations can often be more expensive in reducing emissions on a per-ton basis, they also tend to hide their costs through voters, in addition to therefore can be a safer political bet. A policy which requires utilities to build more renewable energy has visible benefits — more wind in addition to solar — in addition to murky costs. yet a carbon tax which directly increases the cost of gasoline at the pump or electricity rates brings more obvious pain, in addition to hence is actually more likely to garner opposition.

A case in point: In 2012, the Australian government enacted a cap-in addition to-trade program which effectively set a cost on carbon of $23 per ton. Emissions fell nationwide under the program. Yet the policy faced a fierce political backlash through industry groups in addition to voters, in addition to when the nation’s more conservative Liberal Party swept into power in 2013, the item quickly moved to repeal the program.

A recent report through the Organization for Economic Cooperation in addition to Development found which the average carbon cost across 42 major economies was around $8 per ton in 2018, far below the level most experts say is actually necessary to address climate change. Those low prices, some researchers have argued, may reflect political constraints on pricing carbon directly.

For comparison, the United Nations report estimated which governments would likely need to impose effective carbon prices of $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution by 2030 to keep overall global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

The O.E.C.D. report did mention, however, which carbon pricing is actually starting to show signs of momentum in many parts of the planet. Portugal launched its own carbon tax in 2015, in addition to Chile followed suit in 2017. China has launched an early carbon-trading program in several of its provinces. California recently expanded its own cap-in addition to-trade program to cover 85 percent of its statewide emissions. which fall, voters in Washington State will decide whether to enact their own statewide carbon tax.

Some scientists trust which the brand-new United Nations report on the dangers of further climate change may spur nations to step up efforts like these. “If the report works in addition to governments take the item seriously, the item should increase their ambition for expeditiously reducing emissions,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton.