Jean Chateau, Ms. Florence Jaumotte, and Gregor Schwerhoff
This paper discusses and analyzes various international mechanisms to scale up global action on climate mitigation and address the policy gap in this area. Despite the new commitments made at COP 26, there is still an ambition and a policy gap at the global level to keep temperature increases below the 2°C agreed in Paris. Avoiding the worst outcomes of climate change requires an urgent scaling up of climate policies. Recent policy proposals include the idea of common minimum carbon prices, which underlie the IMF’s international carbon price proposal (Parry, Black, and Roaf 2021) and the climate club proposal of the German government. While global carbon prices are not a new idea, the new elements are the use of carbon price floors—which allow countries to do more if they wish—and the differentiation of carbon price floors by level of development. In the absence of international coordination, countries with ambitious climate policies are considering introducing a border carbon adjustment mechanism to prevent domestic producers from being at a competitive disadvantage due to more ambitious domestic climate policies. An interesting question from the global perspective is whether border carbon adjustment would deliver substantial additional emissions reductions or incentivize other countries to join a carbon price floor agreement.
Although the future extent and effects of global climate change remain uncertain, the expected damages are not zero, and risks of serious environmental and macroeconomic consequences rise with increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Despite the uncertainties, reducing emissions now makes sense, and a carbon tax is the simplest, most effective, and least costly way to do this. At the same time, a carbon tax would provide substantial new revenues which may be badly needed, given historically high debt-to-GDP levels, pressures on social security and medical budgets, and calls to reform taxes on personal and corporate income. This book is about the practicalities of introducing a carbon tax in the United States, set against the broader fiscal context. It consists of thirteen chapters, written by leading experts, covering the full range of issues policymakers would need to understand, such as the revenue potential of a carbon tax, how the tax can be administered, the advantages of carbon taxes over other mitigation instruments and the environmental and macroeconomic impacts of the tax. A carbon tax can work in the United States. This volume shows how, by laying out sound design principles, opportunities for broader policy reforms, and feasible solutions to specific implementation challenges.