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Emission trading: Participation enforcement determines the need for compliance enforcement


  • Stine Aakre

    (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO), Norway)

  • Jon Hovi

    () (University of Oslo, Norway and Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO), Norway)


We identify and explain significant differences between the compliance enforcement systems of three cap-and-trade programmes: the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), the US SO2 emission trading programme and the Kyoto Protocol. Because EU-ETS's compliance enforcement system is somewhat less potent than that of US S02, but vastly more potent than Kyoto's, it might be tempting to predict that EU-ETS will (I) not quite achieve the S02 programme's near-perfect compliance rates, yet (2) achieve significantly better compliance rates than Kyoto. However, we offer a novel theoretical framework suggesting that how compliance enforcement affects compliance will depend on how the emission trading programme addresses participation. We conclude that while (I) will likely prove correct, (2) will not; Kyoto may even outperform EU-ETS compliance-wise because whereas EU-ETS (and US S02) specify mandatory participation, most Kyoto member countries participate voluntarily.

Suggested Citation

  • Stine Aakre & Jon Hovi, 2010. "Emission trading: Participation enforcement determines the need for compliance enforcement," European Union Politics, , vol. 11(3), pages 427-445, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:11:y:2010:i:3:p:427-445

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    Cited by:

    1. Tol, Richard S.J., 2017. "The structure of the climate debate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 431-438.
    2. Stine Aakre, 2016. "The political feasibility of potent enforcement in a post-Kyoto climate agreement," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 145-159, February.
    3. Christopher Marcoux & Johannes Urpelainen, 2013. "Non-compliance by design: Moribund hard law in international institutions," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 163-191, June.


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