Today, carbon taxes cover a broad range of sectors and include novel features, demonstrating their ability to adapt to varying policy goals and national contexts. The versatility of carbon taxes also means that policymakers need a clear picture of the available options and how those options fit with the jurisdiction’s context and objectives. This online course provides a first step in understanding the carbon tax landscape.

  • Finance
  • Climate Change

Self-paced course

12 hours

Key Results

  • 10760 learners
  • 2600 certificates issued


Putting a price on carbon involves a fair amount of analysis and consultation with stakeholders. The overall goal of the course is to familiarize learners with underlying market dynamics, policy design options and relevant terminology. While the course is introductory in nature, learners will benefit greatly from a pre-existing understanding of:

  • The functioning of market economies, including basic concepts such as rational agency, the influence of prices on supply and demand, and investments
  • The role of public policy in shaping economic, social and environmental outcomes and achieving international and national commitments

This pre-existing knowledge is not a prerequisite to take the course. You are invited to enroll even if you believe you’re new to the topic!

What will you learn

Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Describe how carbon taxes work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Outline key considerations that shape the decision to adopt carbon taxes
  • Summarize approaches for determining the carbon tax base and rate
  • Differentiate main undesirable effects and mitigation measures
  • List options for revenue use

Course at a glance

While being introduced to conceptual considerations of carbon taxation and its underlying economics, you will also benefit from exposure to a variety of case studies and international carbon pricing practices. The discussions take into account strategic aspects of the political environments in which carbon taxes function.

Module 1: Carbon taxes – Why and when to use them
Module 2: Preparing for carbon tax adoption
Module 3: Key design decisions
Module 4: Avoiding unwanted effects of the carbon tax
Module 5: Use of revenues

Get your certificate

Upon completing all five modules and passing the final quiz, you receive a certificate showing your understanding of the topic. Further details on how to obtain the certificate are presented in the course’s “Certification” section.

Partnership and contributors

Responding to the knowledge and skills needs of policymakers, the World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) jointly developed this online course with contributions from Climate Focus and Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute.