Carbon Coin is a speculative currency which, if implemented, would finance rapid decarbonization. The term and concept were recently represented in Kim Stanley Robinson’s popular 2020 cli-fi novel, The Ministry for the Future, where Robinson describes Carbon Coin as “a digital currency, disbursed on proof of carbon sequestration to provide carrot as well as stick, thus enticing loose global capital into virtuous actions on carbon burn reduction.” Unlike a carbon tax, which attaches a cost to emissions production, Carbon Coin rewards investment in carbon draw-down efforts and renewable alternatives. In Robinson’s dramatization, Carbon Coin is minted and administrated by the world’s central banks which secure its value by issuing relatively high-yield long-term bonds whose timetables corresponds to the window in which carbon sequestration will be environmentally necessary. This makes emissions reduction a profitable venture underwritten by government institutions such as the Federal Reserve. In other words, Carbon Coin puts a dollar value on emissions reduction and carbon sequestration and links this value to the success of the global economy of the future. Those who invest in Carbon Coin are betting on nothing less than the health of global eco-systems and the survival of human civilization.

Carbon Coin is one example of an Emissions Reduction Currency System (ERCS), of which there have been multiple proposed iterations. The idea of a currency based on alternative energy production has been traced to Buckminster Fuller’s 1969 bookOperating Manual for Spaceship Earth. For more information about a currently active initiative to promote the idea of a carbon currency, see the Global Carbon Reward climate initiative (link:

Defined by Andrew Michael Gorin