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Policy sequencing towards carbon pricing among the world’s largest emitters


Policy sequencing to gradually increase the stringency of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has become an influential narrative without much evidence beyond selected policies and sectors or case studies of individual countries. Here we provide international and cross-sectoral evidence on climate policy sequences for the G20 economies and 18 other large emitters. We find that policy sequences towards carbon pricing are a consistent pattern in the data.

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Fig. 1: Climate policy sequences of countries with a carbon price.
Fig. 2: Climate policy sequences and the adoption and stringency of carbon pricing.

Data availability

All data are publicly available and were obtained from the following sources: climate policy data, (CC BY-NC 4.0); data on carbon pricing policies, (CC-BY 4.0:; data on education from the Human Development Indicators, (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO:; data on GDP per capita and control of corruption, (CC-BY 4.0:; data on fossil fuel reserves, (public domain:

Code availability

A replication package is available at


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We thank S. S. Aiyar (IMF), A. Alichi (IMF), M. Auffhammer (Berkeley), M. Chin (IMF), S. Dietz (LSE), S. Fankhauser (Oxford), G. Gostlow (LSE), D. Heine (World Bank), F. Jaumotte (IMF), L. Nascimento (NewClimate Institute), M. Pahle (PIK), R. Salgado (IMF), T. da Silva Filho (IMF), P. Sodsriwiboon (IMF), J. Wiegand (IMF) and participants in internal seminars at IMF and LSE for valuable comments and suggestions. M.L. acknowledges financial support by the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council with grant number 2300776. For the purpose of open access, the authors have applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising. All remaining errors are our own. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board or IMF management.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.L., A.M. and G.S. designed the research. M.L. collected and analysed the data. M.L., A.M. and G.S. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Manuel Linsenmeier.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information

Nature Climate Change thanks Chris Bataille, Jonas Meckling, Toon Vandyck and Michael Pahle for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 Sample of countries included in the analysis.

Map shows whether the data on climate policies can be considered complete. See also Supplementary Table 2. Basemap adapted from World Bank Official Boundaries under a Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Length of climate policy sequences at the time of adoption of the first carbon pricing policy.

The histograms show the cumulative percentages of countries that used the given number of instrument types in the corresponding sector before they adopted their first carbon pricing policy.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Tables 1–10 and Figs. 1–3.

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Linsenmeier, M., Mohommad, A. & Schwerhoff, G. Policy sequencing towards carbon pricing among the world’s largest emitters. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2022).

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