A fair carbon price

Published in the dossier of July 2017

The European Union is the third largest global emitter of CO2 (3.47 billion metric tons in 2015), behind China and the United States. However, it has set itself the target of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to their 1990 level, and is aiming for an 80% decrease by 2050. The first project: increasing the price of a ton of carbon – which, because there are too many free quotas, has fallen from €35 in 2008 to €5 today – to encourage companies to invest in clean technologies and emit less CO2. A group of countries led by France, Sweden and Benelux are asking for it to be increased to €20, the minimum amount they believe will make industrials transform their manufacturing methods. Yet, for many experts, the threshold to kick start the transition to a low-carbon economy is more around the €30 mark. Nonetheless, with the planned opening of a carbon market in China in 2017 and Canada in 2018, 25% of global GHG emissions will be covered by a carbon price.

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