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Natural Awakenings

Financial Fix: Great Britain Coal Use Falls With Carbon Tax

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A tax on carbon dioxide emissions in Great Britain has led to the proportion of electricity generated from coal falling from 40 percent to 3 percent over six years, according to research led by University College London (UCL) and the University of Cambridge. In a report entitled The Value of International Electricity Trading, researchers showed the British Carbon Price Support tax caused electricity generated from coal to fall from 13.1 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2013 to 0.97 TWh in September 2019, and that coal was replaced by other less emission-heavy forms of generation such as gas. The decline in coal generation accelerated substantially after the tax was increased in 2015. The tax is one part of the Total Carbon Price, which also includes the price of EU Emissions Trading System permits. Project leader Dr. Giorgio Castagneto Gissey, of the Bartlett Institute for Sustainable Resources, says, “Should EU countries also adopt a high carbon tax, we would likely see huge carbon emission reductions throughout the continent as we’ve seen in Great Britain over the last few years.”

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