Top economists on carbon price and decarbonization

An article from June 12 in Inside Climate News, says that “top economists,” led by Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern, report that the current average low price on carbon (less than $10 a ton) worldwide, will not achieve the transition to low carbon economies needed to meet the UN Paris Accord goals. (At least $40 to $80 per ton is needed by 2020.)

The report was published by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition’s High Level Commission on Carbon Prices Report May 2017.   They are unequivocal about pricing carbon emissions.  “A well designed carbon price is an indispensable part of a strategy for reducing emissions in an efficient way… by incentivizing changes needed in investment, production, and consumption patterns…” (p. 1)

This report is indispensable if you are not an economist, but are looking for a summary of the most current international economic thought on carbon pricing.  It addresses how a carbon pricing strategy, along with complementary infrastructure and planning approaches, can “fulfill the Paris goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.” (p.50)

Carbon pricing alone is not a feasible or equitable solution to global warming. Decarbonizing electricity production; promoting electrification in housing, industry, and transportation; advancing efficiency; and land use changes (agricultural and landscape) are necessary changes worldwide. (p 6)

(Read the book Drawdown (2017), edited by Paul Hawken, for another hopeful take on these processes. KM)

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