27 Sep 2016

Greenhouse gas emissions not priced at true cost - OECD

1:03 pm on 27 September 2016

The price put on 90 percent of all all greenhouse gas emissions does not come close to paying for their real cost, according to a new study by the OECD.

Industrial smoke from a chimney against blue sky

Photo: 123RF

Several countries put prices on greenhouse gas emissions via a carbon tax, or in New Zealand's case, an emissions trading scheme, to offset their climate change cost.

The OECD has conservatively set the cost of future climate disasters caused by emissions at €30 ($NZ47) a tonne of CO2 or other greenhouse gases with an equivalent impact.

But it says only 10 percent of all emissions from 41 mainly developed countries are at that price or above.

The OECD adds most carbon emissions incur no price at all and those which do incur a price get it very cheaply.

And the vast majority of energy taxes are excise taxes such as New Zealand's petrol tax or road user charges. These are largely used to pay for roads rather than to push an environmental goal.