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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Carbon pricing and planetary boundaries

Engström, Gustav; Gars, Johan; Krishnamurthy, Chandra; Spiro, Daniel; Calel, Raphael; Lindahl, Therese; Narayanan, Badri


Human activities are threatening to push the Earth system beyond its planetary boundaries, risking catastrophic and irreversible global environmental change. Action is urgently needed, yet well-intentioned policies designed to reduce pressure on a single boundary can lead, through economic linkages, to aggravation of other pressures. In particular, the potential policy spillovers from an increase in the global carbon price onto other critical Earth system processes has received little attention to date. To this end, we explore the global environmental effects of pricing carbon, beyond its effect on carbon emissions. We find that the case for carbon pricing globally becomes even stronger in a multi-boundary world, since it can ameliorate many other planetary pressures. It does however exacerbate certain planetary pressures, largely by stimulating additional biofuel production. When carbon pricing is allied with a biofuel policy, however, it can alleviate all planetary pressures

Published in

Nature Communications
2020, volume: 11, number: 1, article number: 4688

Authors' information

Engström, Gustav
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Gars, Johan
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Spiro, Daniel
Uppsala University
Calel, Raphael
Georgetown University
Lindahl, Therese
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Narayanan, Badri
Washington State University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action

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