Akshara Sreedhar

Meeting Kyoto Protocol

The purpose of this project is to simulate how implementing carbon taxes in countries that are top greenhouse gas emitters can bring down their levels over a period of time. The results for simulations conducted are from the CIM-EARTH Energy Sector Model that was developed to study relations between climate and energy policy. I hope that the results of the research helps policy makers around the world in considering realistic carbon taxes or related policies so that overall emissions throughout the entire globe can be reduced and together slow down the rate of global warming.


Increased greenhouse gas emissions from green house gases have grown to become one of the leading causes for a quickened pace of global warming. While global warming is a growing concern for many people, there are ways to slow down the lasting effects of global warming. These methods will need global cooperation and efforts from as many countries as possible in order to be successful.

One such method is introducing and increasing carbon taxes on fossil fuels. How high must carbon taxes be on fossil fuels to reduce a certain country’s emissions by 25% by 2025? If the Kyoto Protocol states that international emission levels must be reduced by 50% by 2050, then this could be an achievable goal. The hypothesis for this problem would be to put a carbon tax on fossil fuels by gradually increasing them by a fixed amount each year. This way, the economy can handle such carbon taxes while still reducing emissions over the span of 20 years.

Carbon taxes are taxes put on the carbon amount in fuels. Since all fossil fuels contain carbon, they release carbon dioxide into the environment when they are burned. Putting carbon taxes on fossil fuels will reduce green house gas emissions and, in turn, help slow down global warming. The top green house gas emitting countries globally are: China, the United States, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia and Canada. Several of these countries have already made plans for introducing carbon taxes or have already introduced them. However, other countries like Russia, United States, and China have no plans as yet for the introduction of carbon taxes in their countries. In 2008, Canada implemented a $10 carbon tax, and subsequently increased the tax by $5 every year until 2012, reaching $30 per ton of CO2. The effects of carbon taxes were all positive in Canada. Fuel consumption dropped by 15.1% from 2008 to 2010, there was no net increase in taxes, and greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 9.9%. In 2010, India implemented a carbon tax of 50 rupees per ton of CO2 ($1 US). In April 2012, Japan introduced a $3.30 (US currency) per ton of CO2 on all fossil fuels. The other top emitters--USA, China and Russia--have no plan to introduce carbon taxes. However, in order to reduce green house gas emissions in these countries, carbon taxes must be levied.


How high must carbon taxes be on fossil fuels to reduce a certain country’s emissions by 25% by 2025?

How can this goal be achieved?

Introduce and implement a slow ramp up of carbon taxes in top greenhouse gas emitting nations. 

Projected Results of Proposed Carbon Tax Plans in Top Emitting Countries

So What?

The carbon tax plan that was implemented based on assumptions I made on the countries and when compared to the BAU emissions, several of the plans were successful in achieving the goal of 25% reduced emissions by 2024. But a few did not quite meet their goal. Canada overshot their goal well in advance and so for the future, they might not have to increase their taxes up by $5 every year. China, USA and India reached their goal but reduced more than 25%. So perhaps a lower carbon tax on the last 5 years of the model could make them reduce exactly 25% less. Although it is great that these countries can reduce more than the 25% goal of emissions with the proposed carbon tax plan, it must also be feasible for the country's economy and industries. Japan and Russia did not quite reach their goal. They were very close, but not quite there. So perhaps Japan could use a ramp up of $5 in the last 5 years of the model to achieve its goal. Russia could use a ramp up of perhaps $3 every year instead of $2. The data is important because it shows a scenario that was successful for most countries and also helps predict what other scenarios might also work with little modifications to this one in order for all countries to reach the exact goal of 25% less emissions.

After seeing the results of my project, I hope it gives a better perspective into increasing global greenhouse gas emission abatement among policy makers and the general population. For policy makers, the results can be analyzed to see what carbon taxes are necessary in each country so that the overall big picture goal of a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions can be achieved by 2025. For everyone else, I hope it provides insights into what sorts of compromises might need to be made in their lives in order for their country to reach the goal of reducing emissions. Even though the model does not take into consideration the efficiencies of technologies or labor and their potential improvements in the future, perhaps with the consideration of these factors, more results may be received for the problem. My research was a halfway point check for the 2050 plan and so it can also help in looking at future works such as further research and studies into possible policies so that the goal in 2050 can be achieved globally as well. It is very important that green house gas emissions are reduced all over the world because it is a large contributor to global warming. The less countries emit, the slower the pace of global warming, and the healthier lives we can lead ahead.