Says some PR from the CDP (formerly, as they say, the Carbon Disclosure Project; I hate people who do that). As picked up by, e.g., the FT. The FT does no analysis, so you may as well read the CDP report instead. Here’s the executive summary:
The number of corporations disclosing they use an internal price on carbon has tripled since last year. Corporations use internal carbon pricing to offset the costs and risks of greenhouse gas production, and to finance the transition to secure sources of low carbon energy. This dramatic increase demonstrates the ongoing mainstreaming of carbon pricing as a high priority for business and an essential component of the corporate strategy toolkit.
The word “internal” didn’t make it into the PR headline, but its important. Companies are trying to guess how much carbon should cost, not an easy thing to do as the Drax indicates (though strictly that was subsidies, not directly costs). Exxon does the same. Companies want to know if they’re going to make money; carbon taxes – or a range of inferior alternatives – cost them money, so they need to include that in their planning.
I’m not sure how reliable the numbers are. Exxon for example is shown at a flat $80 (per tonne, one assumes). However Exxon’s own words, which they quote, are …which in some geographies may approach $80 per ton by 2040. Perhaps they use $80 because its the only number they could find. $80 seems to be a Stern-ish number. For comparison, the extremely stupid ETS was at about 6 Euros.
Anyway, the point is that the numbers being used vary wildly; from less-than-5 (which I would call extreme, were it not about what the ETS is at) to the frankly-implausible more-than-350. Some of this surely reflects the importance of carbon emissions in the product: NGK Spark Plug Co. probably survives its mad $350+ because that still represents a smallish cost for each sparkplug. If CDP have noticed this wild disparity, they don’t say so in that report. In some other stuff they do notice, but that’s all: they say there’s a variation from $1 to $357, but make no comment upon it. Which is odd; because it indicates that a lot of the companies using this pricing aren’t taking it seriously (errrm, so perhaps not so odd after all). Unless the prices used start to converge this won’t be a lot of use to anyone. Perhaps that’s part of the use of this report. And it does perhaps help pave the way for a carbon tax.