Carbon Prices Around the World Laser Talk

We are often asked what China is doing to reduce emissions. It is often assumed that the answer is nothing. However, information gathered from three World Bank reports [1, 2, 3] indicate that governments around the world are taking action, China included:

In 2014, about 40 national and over 20 sub-national jurisdictions have already implemented or scheduled emissions trading schemes or carbon taxes. Together, these jurisdictions account for more than 22 percent of global emissions. Many more countries and jurisdictions are advancing preparation for pricing carbon. Together, these represent almost half of global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions [4]. See the map below to find out where [5].

International Carbon Pricing*

14 countries and one sub-national jurisdiction (BC, Canada) are implementing or have passed legislation for a direct carbon tax.
18 countries are taking steps to be in a state of “carbon pricing readiness” by 2016-2020.
35 countries (incl. 28 in the EU) and 20 subnational jurisdictions have adopted emissions trading (ETS) programs.

Looking at it slightly differently, only one of the ten largest economies in the world does NOT have a carbon price: the United States** [6].

*Note: Because there is overlap in the categories (e.g. some countries have both a tax and an ETS), the numbers in the breakdown add up to more than the total of 40 national and 20 sub-national jurisdictions mentioned earlier.

**Note: this includes California, which has an ETS, accurately as the world’s 8th largest economy instead of Russia [7].

Carbon prices around the world


This laser talk and the data tables it draws from can be downloaded here.

Skeptic Claims and One-Liners

Carbon Fee Skeptic Claim: The US should not act until other countries put a carbon price into place
One-Liner: Countries responsible for nearly 50% of global carbon emissions already have a carbon price mechanism planned or in place.

  1. Putting a Price on Carbon with a Tax”. The World Bank. June 3, 2014. URL for PDF download:
  2. World Bank Background Note “Carbon Pricing Readiness: Looking Ahead”. The World Bank. June 3, 2014
  3. Putting a Price on Carbon with an ETS”. The World Bank. June 3, 2014.
  4. Statement: Putting a Price on Carbon”. The World Bank. June 3, 2014. URL:
  5. State & Trends Report Charts Global Growth of Carbon Pricing”. The World Bank.
  6. GDP (current US$)“. World Development Indicators. World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  7. 2014 GDP: California Ranks 7th or 8th in the World.” California Legislative Analyst’s Office. Jason Sisney and Justin Garosi.