EnergyFactbox: Global climate schemes putting a price on carbon emissions

Susanna Twidale
4 minute read

A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, October 31, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray

Benchmark prices in Europe's carbon market hit a record 50 euros a tonne on Tuesday on expectations a tougher European climate target will lead to higher demand and scarcity of permits. read more

The European Union's carbon market, its Emissions Trading System, is the bloc's flagship tool to curb greenhouse gases, covering the power, industrial and aviation sectors, representing around 40% of its emissions.

The EU agreed last month to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions at least 55% by 2030 against 1990 levels - a new target that will require emissions to fall faster in all sectors, leading to discussions about expanding the ETS to sectors such as road transport and heating. read more

Many countries are using a price on carbon to meet climate goals, in the form of a tax or under an emissions trading, or cap-and-trade, scheme where companies or countries face a carbon limit.

Below are some of the major carbon emissions trading systems (ETS) around the world.


Britain launched a domestic ETS in 2021 after exiting the EU scheme following Brexit. It covers power plants, aviation, energy intensive industries.


A national ETS covering the power sector was launched in 2021 following pilot schemes in provinces and cities including Beijing, Chongqing, Guangdong, Hubei, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin.


The world's largest ETS, which started out 16 years ago, is mandatory for all 27 EU members, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, covering power plants, aviation and energy intensive industries.


Its scheme started in 2013. It was suspended in 2016 and relaunched in 2018 after undergoing reforms. It covers the energy sector, mining and chemical industries.


A three-year pilot scheme was launched in 2020 covering the power, oil and gas, and industrial sectors.


Its ETS, which began in 2008, covers electricity generators, manufacturers liquid fossil fuels including petrol and diesel. Some forest owners are given free permits, others can voluntarily join the scheme.


Its scheme was launched in 2012 and covers electricity, energy intensive industrials.


Its ETS started in 2015. It covers around 600 of the biggest emitters, collectively responsible for almost 70% of the country's annual emissions.


The United States does not have a national ETS, but many regions and states use carbon pricing, such as California and states covered by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) - Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Sources: World Bank Group, International Carbon Action Partnership


GRAPHIC-Global carbon pricing initiatives Carbon pricing rises as world's weapon of choice in climate fight TIMELINE-A brief history of Europe's emissions trading system

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