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1. The opinion of economists and personalities

2. Carbon taxes around the world

Some pigovian taxes on carbon have already been implemented in different countries. Here is a quick review.


Germany has put up an ecological tax reform and created the "Green Budget Germany". Förderverein Ökologischer Steuerreform.

United Kingdom

The United Kindgdom has enacted a "climate change levy" in 2001. That tax concerns the use of energy in commerce, industry and public sectors. The money collected is used to make offesetting cuts in employers "National Insurance" contributions.and investments favourable to energy efficiency and renewable energies. Rates are 0.15p/kWh for gas ($0.003) , 0.07p/kWh for liquid petroleum gas ($0.0014), 0.44/kWh ($0.0087) for electricity and 0.12p ($0.0024) for any other taxable commodity (using the August 17, 2007 exchange rate of USD 1.00= GBP 0.503). There are various exemptions including for electricity generated from new renewable energy and fuel used for "good quality" combined heat and power. All of the above information, as well as additional information, is available on the DEFRA web site.


Finland has set up a carbon tax in 1990, and was the first country to do so. Initially based on carbon content, it was later turned into a carbon/energy tax. Its rate is now 18.05€ per ton of CO2 which means 66.2€ per ton of carbon. The Finnish ministry of Environment presents it here: Environmentally Related Energy Taxation in Finland.


Sweden introduced in 1991 a tax on carbon emissions; the tax now reaches a level of 150$ per ton of CO2, but no tax is imposed on fuels used to produce electricity, and firms in the industry only have to pay 50% of the normal tax. However, non industrial consumers pay a separate tax on electricity. Fuels resulting of renewable energies like ethanol, methane, biofuels and waste are exonerated. Consequently, the tax has induced an important development of biomass for heating and industrial needs. On the 17th of september 2007, the swedish government announced that taxes on CO2 would be raised in order to fight climate change.

Boulder (USA)

The city of Boulder, in Colorado, created on the 1st of april 2007 the first tax on carbon emissions in the electricity sector. It reaches about 7$ per ton of carbon and costs 13$ per month for the average household. Households using renewable energy receive compensation. The annual revenue generated is about 1 million dollars. They are affected to finance the climate action plan of Boulder, in order to meet the objectives of Kyoto (Kelley 2006).

New Zealand

New Zealand had the project of introducing a carbon tax, in 2005. That tax would have been neutral for payrolls, because other taxes are reduced (Hodgson 2005). But the project was abandoned by the new majority. The implementation of a negociated emission permits system was announced in september by the goverment, like in Australia as of july 2007. Breakfast de ABC Radio National.


Quebec has implemented a "tax on hydrocarbons" since october 1st ,2007. Even if the rate is low, that tax is the first northern american carbon tax. (in a state or province)

British Columbia

The province has a tax on gas since The 1st of July 2008. Consumers have to pay 2,4 more cents for a liter of gas. It will reach 7,24 cents in 2012. This tax is supposed to be revenue-neutral, being given back to taxpayers as tax credits.


The Swiss system: That country correlates the rise of their carbon tax with their capacity to keep the pace in reaching their annual emissions abatement targets in the frame of Switzerland’s Kyoto commitment: no tax if annual targets are respected, a tax reinforced every year in the opposite case. This is an option that is really coherent with the spirit of Kyoto (that gives quotas of emissions) and helps avoid a never-ending debate between supporters and detractors of taxes, regulation measures or voluntary agreements by which some industrial sectors could get exempted from any tax. Besides, to prevent any suspicion (of a tax paralysing industry or on the contrary offering gifts to employers by reduction of social contributions), the system implies that firms receive by a reduction of social contributions the amount of carbon tax they have globally paid (except firm that have chosen the option of voluntary agreements, which makes this type of agreement less interesting) and also that employees will see their social contributions decrease in proportion of what will be globally deducted. In other words, we assure firms on one side and workers on the other side that they won’t be unreasonably put under pressure.