Considering the ‘social cost of carbon’


In the lead up to Glasgow climate change summit, the ACT has become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a dollar value on climate inaction by implementing a ‘social cost of carbon’.

A ‘social cost of carbon’ is a tool used across the globe to estimate the associated costs of damage from the release of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. This action will be applied by the ACT Government to emissions from ACT government operations only and will not be applied to business or the community.

Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said that the government’s emissions reduction targets require ambitious policy tools and government investment.

“While Australians are crying out for the Federal Government to commit to responsible emission reduction targets, the ACT has already legislated them, and the social cost of carbon will help us reach those targets,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“As part of the 2021-22 ACT Budget announced last week, we unveiled a social cost of carbon at an interim price of $20 per tonne of emissions. This makes us the first jurisdiction in Australia to do this.

“The ACT Government measures and reports its operational emissions each year. Implementing the social cost of carbon will mean paying $20 per tonne of emissions into a dedicated fund, and investing these funds in activities to reduce emissions, such as upgrading to efficient electric schools and shifting to zero emissions buses.

“We will be drawing on independent and expert advice, including from the ACT Climate Change Council, as we develop an agreed value for the social cost of carbon by 2025.

“Introducing a social cost of carbon supports the ACT’s world-leading emissions reduction targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 and reduce emissions from government operations by 33% from 2020 to 2025.

“Applying a cost to government projects will support more informed decision making and make sure that we’re are investing in climate action and our community’s continued health and wellbeing.”

You can find more information on this project, including the reports presented to the government about ‘social cost of carbon’, on the ACT Government’s Environment website.