Mapped: Carbon Pricing Initiatives Around the World
Over the past two decades, governments around the world have responded to climate change through various initiatives and policies, with carbon pricing at the forefront.
A recent example is the Canadian province of Ontario’s Emissions Performance Standards program, first launched in 2022. The program sets annual carbon emissions limits for industrial facilities, with a fee on excess carbon emitted.
This graphic by Jonathan Letourneau maps 70 active carbon pricing initiatives around the world and highlights their global impact as seen in the 2022 World Bank report.
But first, let’s look at the different types of carbon pricing:
Carbon Tax vs. ETS
Broadly speaking, carbon pricing gives emission generating organizations a choice between reducing their carbon emissions and paying for them.
The two typical initiatives used to offer this choice are carbon taxes and emissions trading systems (ETS):
- Carbon tax: This tax or levy is directly applied to the production of carbon emissions or fuels that release greenhouse gases. This makes products or services that release substantial carbon more expensive than greener alternatives (or reducing emissions).
- Emissions Trading System (ETS): Also called the cap-and-trade system, ETS puts a cap on the total level of greenhouse gases a licensed industry can emit. Companies with low emissions can sell their unused emission allowance with larger emitters that have exceeded the cap.
The World’s Carbon Pricing Initiatives
As of the end of 2022, Europe was home to 24 of the 70 active carbon pricing initiatives in the world.
|Location||Carbon Pricing Type||CO2e Price Per Tonne (USD)||Emissions Covered (Tonnes)|
|🇦🇷 Argentina||Carbon tax||$4.99||79.46|
|🇨🇦 Canada||Carbon tax||$39.96||167.67|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Alberta||ETS||$39.96||140.36|
|🇨🇦 Canada - British Columbia||ETS||$19.98||N/A|
|🇨🇦 Canada - British Columbia||Carbon tax||$39.96||46.41|
|🇨🇦 Canada - New Brunswick||ETS||$39.96||7.05|
|🇨🇦 Canada - New Brunswick||Carbon tax||$39.96||5.50|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador||ETS||$39.96||4.59|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador||Carbon tax||$39.96||5.01|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Northwest Territories||Carbon tax||$31.97||1.33|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Nova Scotia||ETS||$23.10||14.02|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Ontario||ETS||$31.97||41.12|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Prince Edward Island||Carbon tax||$23.98||0.97|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Quebec||ETS||$30.83||60.92|
|🇨🇦 Canada - Saskatchewan||ETS||$39.96||10.23|
|🇨🇱 Chile||Carbon tax||$5.00||36.93|
|🇨🇳 China - Beijing||ETS||$6.53||31.89|
|🇨🇳 China - Chongqing||ETS||$5.66||67.14|
|🇨🇳 China - Fujian||ETS||$1.83||125.13|
|🇨🇳 China - Guangdong (except Shenzhen)||ETS||$12.51||259.23|
|🇨🇳 China - Hubei||ETS||$7.24||63.80|
|🇨🇳 China - Shanghai||ETS||$9.28||78.48|
|🇨🇳 China - Shenzhen||ETS||$0.64||13.17|
|🇨🇳 China - Tianjin||ETS||$4.40||53.08|
|🇨🇴 Colombia||Carbon tax||$5.01||44.68|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||Carbon tax||$26.62||17.21|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||Carbon tax||$2.21||1.41|
|🇪🇺 EU - Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein||ETS||$86.53||1,626.60|
|🇫🇮 Finland||Carbon tax||$85.10||26.93|
|🇫🇷 France||Carbon tax||$49.29||157.78|
|🇮🇸 Iceland||Carbon tax||$34.25||2.72|
|🇮🇪 Ireland||Carbon tax||$45.31||27.05|
|🇯🇵 Japan||Carbon tax||$2.36||952.66|
|🇯🇵 Japan - Saitama||ETS||$3.84||8.16|
|🇯🇵 Japan - Tokyo||ETS||$4.42||13.26|
|🇰🇷 Korea, Republic of||ETS||$18.75||554.44|
|🇱🇻 Latvia||Carbon tax||$16.58||0.38|
|🇱🇮 Liechtenstein||Carbon tax||$129.86||0.15|
|🇱🇺 Luxembourg||Carbon tax||$43.35||6.80|
|🇲🇽 Mexico||Carbon tax||$3.72||352.61|
|🇲🇽 Mexico - Baja California||Carbon tax||N/A||N/A|
|🇲🇽 Mexico - Tamaulipas||Carbon tax||N/A||N/A|
|🇲🇽 Mexico - Zacatecas||Carbon tax||N/A||N/A|
|🇳🇱 Netherlands||Carbon tax||$46.14||25.96|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||ETS||$52.62||41.61|
|🇳🇴 Norway||Carbon tax||$87.61||44.73|
|🇵🇱 Poland||Carbon tax||N/A||15.94|
|🇵🇹 Portugal||Carbon tax||$26.44||25.04|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Carbon tax||$3.96||56.42|
|🇸🇮 Slovenia||Carbon tax||$19.12||10.65|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||Carbon tax||$9.84||459.17|
|🇪🇸 Spain||Carbon tax||$16.58||6.23|
|🇸🇪 Sweden||Carbon tax||$129.89||25.83|
|🇨🇭 Switzerland||Carbon tax||$129.86||15.75|
|🇺🇸 United States - California||ETS||$30.82||309.47|
|🇺🇸 United States - New England Area (RGGI)||ETS||$13.89||67.92|
|🇺🇸 United States - New England Area (RGGI)||ETS||$0.50||6.07|
|🇺🇸 United States - Oregon||ETS||N/A||27.09|
|🇺🇦 Ukraine||Carbon tax||$1.03||197.46|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||Carbon tax||$23.65||97.38|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||ETS||$98.99||129.85|
|🇺🇾 Uruguay||Carbon tax||$137.30||4.38|
Europe’s position is not surprising given many of its countries have set ambitious carbon neutral goals. The region’s European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the world’s largest carbon market, covering 1.8 billion tonnes of emissions annually.
Canada has also implemented numerous regional and national carbon pricing initiatives, with many provinces falling under both main types of carbon pricing. For example, carbon emissions in British Columbia—the first jurisdiction in North America to implement carbon pricing—are priced under both a carbon tax and an ETS.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2021, China, implemented its much-awaited national ETS the same year. In just one year, the country’s traded carbon emission allowances crossed 200 million tonnes.
In the U.S., several states have implemented their own carbon pricing initiatives. California’s cap-and-trade initiative covers emissions from electricity, transportation, and industry, while the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative sets a cap on emissions from power plants of nine Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
The Impact of Carbon Pricing
Putting a price on carbon emissions seems to have made an impact in reducing emissions.
In Europe, the EU ETS has helped reduce emissions from the power sector by 43% in the region since its inception in 2005.
Likewise, California’s Cap-and-Trade program has helped the state meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions back to 1990 levels.
In many jurisdictions, including China and Canada, there are plans to double down on carbon pricing plans, either by increasing the cost of carbon or lowering emissions limits.
But while many economists and policy makers have found carbon pricing to be the most efficient tool to curb emissions, they also point out that the programs themselves need to be designed well. Initiatives with limits that are too high or prices that are too low can be ineffectual, as well as giving certain major polluters exemptions from programs.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Tracking Antarctica Sea Ice Loss in 2023
Antarctica’s ice extent has reached record lows. This visual details and maps Antarctica sea ice loss over the last two years.
Tracking Antarctica Sea Ice Loss in 2023
Scientists have been tracking the extent and concentrations of Antarctica’s sea ice for decades, and the last two years have raised global alarm bells.
As temperatures are breaking records around the world, the southernmost continent’s ice sheet is visibly smaller than it has been in decades past.
The above graphic uses tracking data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) to visualize sea ice extent in Antarctica as of August 2023
How Much Ice Has Antarctica Lost?
According to satellite data tracked by the NSIDC, sea ice extent in Antarctica has shrunk to record lows.
When compared to previously charted data dating back to 1979, daily record lows in sea ice extent have been recorded for every day in 2023 so far.
Here is how daily Antarctic sea ice extent in 2023 compares to 2022 (which had many of the previous record lows), and the median from 1981 to 2010.
|Date||2023 (km²)||2022 (km²)||Median (1981‒2010, km²)|
Antarctica’s sea ice extent on August 24, 2023 was 1.42 million square kilometers smaller than the year before. When compared to the median extent for that date from 1980 to 2010, it was 2.07 million square kilometers smaller.
Keep in mind that July and August are the coldest months in Antarctica. Its position on the South Pole gives it a very long winter ranging from the end of February to the end of September, with ice building up before melting temperatures arrive in October.
Antarctica Sea Ice and the Rest of the World
Even though the continent is thousands of kilometers from most of Earth’s land and populace, its ice has an important impact on the rest of the planet.
Antarctica’s large ice sheet is able to reflect a lot of sunlight in sunnier months, reducing the amount absorbed by the ocean. The wider its extent builds up over the winter, the more sunlight and heat it is able to reflect.
It’s also important to consider that this ice comes from a regular pattern of freezing and melting ocean water. The more ice is lost to the oceans compared to what accumulates in a given year, the higher sea levels rise around the world.
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