Carbon taxes are in place in Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Canada and under discussion elsewhere, including in the EU, Japan and South Africa. Other countries, including China, Taiwan, Chile and South Korea, and a number of Canadian provinces, are either considering developing their own or already have trial emissions trading schemes in place.

  • China has a tax on coal, oil and gas extraction in its largest gas-producing province and plans to extend this to all other western provinces.
  • India has nationwide tax of 50 rupees per tonne levied on both imported coal and coal produced domestically, to be used for clean energy development.
  • South Africa has released a discussion paper for public comment on a broad carbon tax.

Australia has the highest per capita emissions of all developed countries, about 27 tonnes per person. This compares to a world average of about 6 tonnes per person, and an average of about 14 tonnes per person in other developed countries.Developing countries consistently point to Australia’s high per capita emissions to justify why we should take strong action on climate change.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the US caps carbon pollution for the electricity sector in the 10 participating north-eastern states. The combined population for these 10 states is 50 million – more than double Australia’s total population. Each state auctions pollution permits to power stations, and commits to use at least 25 per cent of their auction revenue for clean energy programs, and to assist consumers to reduce their use of electricity. In practice all participating states are far exceeding this commitment, investing 80 per cent of their proceeds – totaling $775 million so far – in renewable and energy efficiency programs.  The RGGI’s executive director has said that these programs show $3-$4 in benefits for every $1 invested. Furthermore, several businesses have realised energy cost savings great enough to retain or add new employees.