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Adaptive Policy Mechanisms for Transboundary Air Pollution Regulation: Reasons and Recommendations


  • J. Andrew Kelly

    (AP EnvEcon, NovaUCD)

  • Herman R.J. Vollebergh

    (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and CentER and Tilburg Sustainability Center, Tilburg University)


In the context of transboundary air pollution policy the broad ambition is to achieve reductions in the level of environmental and societal damage associated with certain pollutant concentrations and exposure rates in a cost effective manner. Policy formulation and legislative frameworks in this field, such as the current National Emissions Ceiling Directive in the European Union, are challenged by the degree of scientific complexity involved, the dispersed sources of emissions, and the inherent uncertainties associated with long range forecasting under these conditions. This paper identifies the reasons why varied forms of adaptive policy mechanisms (also termed flexibilities) are necessary and valuable in this arena, presents the critical considerations for their design and operation, reviews a selection of the more prominent options currently considered in the associated transboundary research community, and concludes with recommendations for the next set of transboundary air pollution policy frameworks.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Andrew Kelly & Herman R.J. Vollebergh, 2012. "Adaptive Policy Mechanisms for Transboundary Air Pollution Regulation: Reasons and Recommendations," Working Papers 2012.32, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2012.32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Kahn, Danny, 2010. "A symmetric safety valve," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4921-4932, September.
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    5. Fell, Harrison & Burtraw, Dallas & Morgenstern, Richard D. & Palmer, Karen L., 2012. "Soft and hard price collars in a cap-and-trade system: A comparative analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 183-198.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brink, Corjan & Vollebergh, Herman R.J. & van der Werf, Edwin, 2016. "Carbon pricing in the EU: Evaluation of different EU ETS reform options," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 603-617.

    More about this item


    Transboundary Air Pollution; Emission Ceilings; Flexibility; Adaptive Policy; Integrated Assessment Modelling;

    JEL classification:

    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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