Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene
Given the slow policy response by governments, climate leadership by other institutions has become an essential part of maintaining policy momentum, driving innovation, and fostering social dialogue. Despite growth in carbon pricing in government and the private sector, our review suggests low, but growing, adoption of internal carbon prices (ICPs) by higher education institutions (HEIs), who may be uniquely suited to implement and refine these tools. We analyze the range of ICP tools in use by eleven U.S. HEIs and discuss tradeoffs. Our analysis identifies several reasons why proxy carbon prices may be especially well-suited to decisions (especially at the system-scale) around carbon neutrality at a wide range of institutions. Using a unique dataset covering 10 years of real-world analysis with a proxy carbon price, we analyze the interaction of ICPs with life cycle cost analysis to start to identify when and how internal carbon pricing will be most likely to shift decisions. We discuss how schools and other institutions can collaborate and experiment with these tools to help drive good climate decision-making and inform climate policy at larger scales.
Carbon management, Shadow price, Climate policy, Third sector, Non-state actor
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Barron, Alexander R.; Parker, Breanna J.; Sayre, Susan Stratton; Weber, Shana S.; and Weisbord, Dano, "Carbon Pricing Approaches for Climate Decisions in U.S. Higher Education: Proxy Carbon Prices for Deep Decarbonization" (2020). Environmental Science and Policy: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.