British companies pay 17 times more in carbon

19 Oct 2010

The UK, which employs a number of different carbon-pricing mechanisms, is the leading exponent of carbon pricing policies, a recent study suggests.

The Sydney-based Climate Institute conducted the research and found that in a global context, Australia – the world’s biggest exporter of coal – was trailing in its reduction of carbon emissions, and it named the UK as the leading exponent of carbon-pricing policies.

Like Ireland, Australia has its eyes on achieving 2020 targets for carbon efficiency but if it continues as it is, according to the report, it risks falling short of these aims.

British companies pay 17 times more

The global study, which examined a wide range of climate-change policies, found the Chinese power companies face eight times higher carbon prices than Australian producers, while British companies pay 17 times more.

“The UK is reaping the benefits of its policies to price pollution, in addition to its participation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EETS), and has an equivalent price tag around 17 times that of Australia’s,” said the Climate Institute’s deputy CEO Erwin Jackson.

The research suggests the importance of a market-based mechanism, such as an emissions trading scheme, which it contends would be the most economically efficient and cheapest way to reduce pollution.

“More and more competitors are putting a price tag on pollution to boost clean energy competitiveness,” added Jackson.

According to the report, the UK is facing the steepest price for carbon: $29.30, China comes in second at $14.20, the US third: $5.10, followed by Japan: $3.10 a ton. Australia came in at $1.70.