The province of Utrecht is now counting on a ten times higher CO2 price

The province of Utrecht is now counting on a ten times higher CO2 price
The province of Utrecht is now counting on a ten times higher CO2 price

Until now, the province used a CO2 price of 80 euros in its cost-benefit analyses. For sensitivity analyses, that price was lower. “I believe it was even 20 euros per ton of CO2,” says Huib van Essen, Deputy of Energy Transition and Climate. “That in no way does justice to the damage and effects of greenhouse gas emissions on our climate now, later and elsewhere.”

875 euros per tonne of CO2

On the advice of the Netherlands Climate Alliance, the province will from now on calculate a price of 875 euros per ton of CO2 in its cost-benefit analyses. That amount will therefore be more than ten times higher in one go. Van Essen thinks this increase is very logical. For example, he points to the effect of the disappearance of the ice caps in the Himalayas: billions of people are losing their drinking water supply as a result. Or if the sea level rises by 7 meters and we can no longer keep the Netherlands dry. “These are the things at stake. In that sense, we should not be surprised that the amounts involved are very high, because the social effects involved are enormous. It is important that we give them a price in this way and take them much more seriously in our considerations.”

Michel Scholte, co-founder of True Price and Impact Institute, sees various cost-benefit analyzes and studies in which carbon prices are mentioned. Compared to the publicly available figures, 875 euros per tonne of CO2 is relatively high.

Not a stone, but a concrete block

“It’s great that they set the bar nice and high,” he says. “Now you don’t throw a stone into the pond, but a concrete block.” It makes it more difficult for other parties to defend lower prices. At the same time, he emphasizes that he would prefer the province to compensate for the CO2 emissions it causes. “Ultimately not a single tonne, not even an ounce, of carbon should be released back into the air.”

Climate-friendly decisions

For now, the province only applies this higher price in its cost-benefit analyses. The government mainly uses these for making policy choices. For example about infrastructure. “What are the effects on road safety, on traffic flow, on air quality. And from now on, climate will play a much more important role in this,” explains Van Essen. In this way, he hopes that it will make more sense to make more climate-friendly decisions.

“We are also looking at how we can apply this more widely. So perhaps also in procurement and tenders.” In addition, the province wants to lobby for a national CO2 price together with fellow governments. Scholte hopes that the province will succeed in involving more parties. “Because now it’s just time to get going. We are already ten, twenty years too late.”

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The article is in Dutch

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