Nina Ekelund: We need to fivefold the ambitions to stay below 1.5 degrees

Even though we have been working with environmental politics in the world for 50 years, we still have a long way to go. We need to fivefold the ambitions to stay below 1.5 degrees. We need more action and less talk.

Countries representing about 65 percent of global CO2 emissions and about 70 percent of the world economy have set climate neutrality targets, but the level of investment in clean solutions is still too low.

Today, less than a quarter (22 percent) of global greenhouse gas emissions are covered by carbon pricing initiatives, and only a fraction of those is within the recommended range in the Paris Agreement. Direct fossil fuel subsidies are worth ten times the revenues raised by carbon pricing, and the indirect costs of burning fossil fuels and the impacts of climate change are a hundred times greater.

So - What about the 80 percent not having a price?

For every ton of carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere, we are paying a price – the consequences of climate change. Some of these consequences are already obvious, but the most severe will hit us in the future if we fail to meet the 1.5-degree target.

The fundamental problem is that the price of emissions is not paid by those who burn fossil fuels. This is a textbook example of a negative externality, a market failure that leads to excessive use of fossil fuels and negative socio-economic outcomes.

It is well-known that those who have the smallest incomes also cause the least emissions but simultaneously suffer the most from the consequences of climate change.

The fundamental objective of a carbon price is to correct this market failure so that the polluters pay their fair share of the cost of emissions.

In Call on Carbon we, the undersigned, call on governments to:

  • back their net-zero targets with effective, robust, reliable, and fit-for-purpose carbon pricing instruments, consistent with the Paris Agreement, to facilitate a cost-efficient investment path to reach net-zero emissions;
  • align their carbon pricing instruments where appropriate to create a stable and predictable investment environment; and
  • finalise the rules for international market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to support cost-effective mitigation efforts, create a level playing field and minimise carbon leakage while enabling greater ambition

Climate Leadership Coalition in Finland, Skift – Business Climate Leaders in Norway, and Haga Initiative in Sweden started Call on Carbon in March 2021. Call on Carbon's signatories include more than 130 businesses, cities, universities, and business organisations and networks, whose members and partners represent and gather over 60 million companies and farmers with over USD 25 trillion market capitalisation and over USD 120 trillion assets under management in over 100 countries.

Before the COP in Glasgow, we sent an open letter signed by the signatories of our Call on Carbon initiative to Heads of State and Government. Let me ask you all, what can we do to stress carbon pricing ahead of COP Sharm al Sheik? Please sign calloncarbon.com and support sufficient price on carbon.

Nina Ekelund, Executive Director, Haga Initiative

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The fundamental problem is that the price of emissions is not paid by those who burn fossil fuels. This is a textbook example of a negative externality, a market failure that leads to excessive use of fossil fuels and negative socio-economic outcomes.

Nina Ekelund, Executive Director, Haga Initiative