Canada Has the Most Active Carbon Pricing Initiatives Worldwide

mapped active carbon pricing initiatives around the world

Courtesy of Visual Capitalist

A new infographic by Visual Capitalist shows that Canada, the world’s fourth-largest exporter of oil and sixth-largest exporter of natural gas, is where you'll find the most active carbon pricing initiatives worldwide [1].

Canada is home to 15 out of 70 – or more than 21% of active carbon pricing initiatives. For a country with about half a per cent of the global population, this should be big news for Canadians and the world given that carbon pricing is meant to incentivize emissions reductions. Also see:

Countries with Most Active Carbon Pricing Initiatives 2022

Canada is home to 15 out of 70 active carbon pricing initiatives worldwide

#1 – Canada – 15/70

#2 – China – 9/70

#3 – Mexico – 5/70

#4 – United States – 4/70

#5 - Japan – 3/70

Globally, Canada takes the number one spot with several provincial and national active carbon pricing initiatives categorized as Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) and carbon taxes. British Columbia, for example, was the first jurisdiction in North America to implement carbon pricing and has carbon emissions subject to both a carbon tax and ETS.

Several European countries such as Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have implemented carbon pricing initiatives of their own, which is not surprising given many EU nations have set ambitious net zero goals.

China, the world’s largest emitter of GHGs, implemented its much-awaited national ETS in 2021. In a single year, the world’s second-largest economy saw 200 million tonnes in traded carbon emission allowances.

Like Canada's provinces, several U.S. states have also implemented carbon pricing initiatives. California’s cap-and-trade system covers GHGs from transportation, industry and electricity. At the same time, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative sets a cap on power plant emissions from nine Northeastern states, including Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

Carbon Taxes & Emissions Trading Systems

Canada is home to 21 percent of active carbon pricing initiatives worldwide

When discussing carbon pricing initiatives, it is essential to distinguish between the two types – carbon taxes and ETS. Generally speaking, these essentially give emitters a choice between reducing GHG emissions or paying for them.

Carbon Taxes: A tax or levy applied directly to carbon emission production or fuels that release GHGs. This makes products and services that release substantial volumes of emissions more expensive than cleaner alternatives, creating an incentive for companies to make the switch.

Emissions Trading Systems: Also known as “cap-and-trade,” ETS places a cap on the total volume of GHGs a licensed industry can emit. Companies with lower emissions can sell their unused allowances to those with larger emissions that have exceeded the cap.

Carbon Pricing in Canada

Canada is home to the most active carbon pricing initiatives worldwide, with 15 out of 70 initiatives

Canada’s worldwide leadership on carbon pricing should be bigger news during a time when small groups of anti-development activists look to obstruct the responsible development of our natural resources.

While Canada is home to one-fifth of active global carbon pricing initiatives, other less responsible producers of oil and natural gas, for example, have set no price on emissions. Anti-development activists oppose sustainable domestic energy development while turning a blind eye to oil and natural gas imports produced elsewhere under regimes without carbon pricing.

It just doesn’t make sense.

If you support environmental protection, emissions reductions and climate action, you support places like Canada with carbon-pricing initiatives that are meant to incentivize emissions reductions.

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1. Visual Capitalist. (2023, August 7). MAPPED: Carbon Pricing Initiatives Around the World. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023