Refinitiv, the data and services provider, has suggested a global carbon tax bill of $4trn will be required to meet proposals from the IMF around tackling climate change.
The figure is based on the suggestion that carbon taxes wll need to rise to $75/tonne of CO2, which the IMF has said is needed to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Centigrade. The $4trn figure is equivalent to about 4% of global GDP, Refinitiv adds.
But for certain companies, it implies a much bigger share of revenues. Companies in sectors such as construction materials, utilities, metals and mining and airlines could see the equivalent of 13% of revenues taken out by the tax.
David Craig, CEO at Refinitiv, said: "Simply put, this is a cost that global businesses have not factored in. And they need to. The message from policymakers around the world is coming through loud and clear. The world needs to tax carbon at a realistic level and regulators are increasingly likely to do just that, given the urgency of the crisis."
"Climate change and sustainability seems to be genuinely top of the boardroom agenda as leaders are applying a rational, business-focused lens to this issue. Not only will consumers harshly judge companies on the wrong side of this debate, financial markets will inevitably punish the laggards."
Refinitiv notes that some 55 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide or CO2 equivalent were emitted globally last year. Just 20% of those emissions were taxed, and at a level - around $28/tonne - that economists and climate scientests believe is too low to have an impact on emissions.
A tax at $28/tonne levied on the full 55 gigatonnes of emissions would raise an estimated $1.5trn. If the price were put up to $75/tonne, it would raise around $4trn.