At COP21, French, German and Canadian leaders said it in their opening statements; setting a price on carbon is unavoidable in the fight against climate change. Joining the likes of the World Bank, the IMF or the OECD, Heads of State also consider that either a tax or a carbon market would discourage companies from investing in polluting activities.
According to data collected by COP21Horizon, the majority of the general public, local authorities, NGOs and economists all over the world are in favor of setting a carbon price. Companies, however, are only 55% behind such a measure, with Australian (35%) and American firms (44%) bringing up the rear.
The blocking of polluting companies
Tariffing carbon will impact some sectors more than others, particularly those dependent on coal or oil. According to Thibault Laconde, engineer and consultant in the fields of energy and climate: "Airlines, livestock farmers or car manufacturers are likely to see a reduction in their business activity."
"Australia, like the United States, suffers from its climate-sceptic history." adds the specialist, with US Republicans still reticent about signing a climate treaty. For its part, Tony Abbott’s government committed to an unambitious “26 to 28% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels." By comparison, the United States has thus far aimed a similar decline but for 2025.
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Companies that engage
Some companies have chosen to take the lead; at a summit in New York in September 2014 Ikea, Mars and Nestlé all pledged to switch to renewable energy by 2020. Others have established a "zero deforestation" goal in their production chain.
Like Gérard Mestrallet, CEO of ENGIE, who explains in a LeMonde.fr french article; "These carbon pricing mechanisms should not be regarded as a brake on the global economy", some companies prefer to consider them as a growth accelerator stimulating both investment and innovation. Provided, of course, there is a level playing field.