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Carbon Pricing

Moderate Carbon Price Still Has Big Impact On Emissions

Reposted from Think Progress.
By Joe Romm

Last week, I wrote a piece “Extending Current Energy Policies Would Keep U.S. Carbon Pollution Emissions Flat Through 2040.” It was based on the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), summed up in this chart:

co2emission

But EIA has modeled other cases than just one that extends tax credits for renewables and the like.

In fact, EIA has a chart-creating website that allows you to pick different scenarios. Here’s one that compares the reference case (i.e. no new policies) with the extended policies case with a carbon dioxide price scenario:

Figure: Energy-related CO2 emissions (in green) assuming a $25 per metric ton CO2 price starting in 2013, rising 5% per year through 2040 — compared to business as usual (in purple) and extended energy policies (in blue).

Figure: Energy-related CO2 emissions (in green) assuming a $25 per metric ton CO2 price starting in 2013, rising 5% per year through 2040 — compared to business as usual (in purple) and extended energy policies (in blue).

This CO2 price leaves emissions in 2040 one third lower than current (2012) levels — and 40% lower than 2005 levels. It is a pretty modest price for carbon pollution. The actual social cost of carbon today (and in 2040) is probably considerably higher (see here).

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