Why Carbon Pricing Isn’t Working: Good Idea in Theory, Failing in Practice


Publish Date:
June 14, 2018
Publication Title:
Foreign Affairs
Journal Article
  • Jeffrey Ball, Why Carbon Pricing Isn't Working: Good Idea in Theory, Failing in Practice, Foreign Affairs, June/July 2018.
Related Organization(s):


From the essay:

If governments proved willing to impose carbon prices that were sufficiently high and affected a broad enough swath of the economy, those prices could make a real environmental difference. But political concerns have kept governments from doing so, resulting in carbon prices that are too low and too narrowly applied to meaningfully curb emissions. The existing carbon-pricing schemes tend to squeeze only certain sectors of the economy, leaving others essentially free to pollute. And even in those sectors in which carbon pricing might have a significant effect, policymakers have lacked the spine to impose a high-enough price. The result is that a policy prescription widely billed as a panacea is acting as a narcotic. It’s giving politicians and the public the warm feeling that they’re fighting climate change even as the problem continues to grow.