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Carbon pricing principles

We believe that well-designed carbon pricing provides the right incentives for everyone – energy producers and consumers alike – to play their part in reducing emissions

Carbon pricing makes energy efficiency more attractive and makes low carbon solutions, such as renewables and carbon capture, use and storage, more cost-competitive. bp’s aim 6 is to more actively advocate for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing.

A fifth of the world’s GHG emissions are now covered by carbon pricing systems.

Stable and well-designed carbon pricing adds a cost to energy production and energy products, but it also provides a basis for future investment and a level playing field for all energy sources.

In the US, we support cap and invest programmes because we believe well-designed carbon pricing provides everyone incentives to help reduce emissions. Learn more about the policies and why we support them. 

At a global level, we are working with our peers and other companies, governments and civil society to help support the expansion of carbon pricing through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. And we are a founding member of the US-based Climate Leadership Council, which is considering a carbon tax that would be returned to citizens in the form of dividends.

We believe that carbon prices need to reach at least $100/£75 per tonne in order to rapidly accelerate the deployment of renewable electricity and support other low carbon opportunities such as hydrogen, CCUS and biofuels to deliver net zero by 2050. 

Our approach

We believe that a well-designed price on carbon – either a tax or a cap-and-trade system – is the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


  • Economy-wide: it should apply to all quantifiable GHG emissions in all sectors of the economy on a CO2 equivalent basis.
  • Single policy: it should pre-empt future and replace existing regulations that overlap or duplicate the carbon price.
  • Leakage: it should prevent the shifting of emissions and jobs from one country or subnational jurisdiction to another, ideally through measures ensuring the continued competitiveness of energy-intensive, trade-exposed domestic industries.
  • Point of regulation: it should be applied and collected as close as administratively feasible to the point of emissions, providing transparency to emitters and helping them make economic choices to reduce emissions.
  • Pricing and escalation: subject to periodic review, the price should be ramped up gradually before accelerating and levelling off.
  • Programme assurance: alongside periodic review, it should include flexible and dynamic adjustment mechanisms to assure that its emissions and economic goals are achieved.
  • Offsets: it should give credit to companies in sectors exposed to the price for investing in accredited emissions reductions from sectors not exposed to the price (e.g. agriculture, forestry and other land use industries).
  • Additional policies: these should be limited in number, tightly focused on correcting market failures (e.g. energy efficiency standards), filling temporary gaps in carbon pricing coverage (e.g. regulations for hard-to-quantify GHG emissions like methane) and transitional support for promising but emerging low carbon technologies (e.g. CCUS and renewables).
  • Use of revenues: it is for governments to determine the use of revenues but they could be returned to the economy in beneficial ways, e.g. through income or payroll tax reductions or investment in programmes related to carbon reduction (e.g., sector retraining, low carbon research and development).