IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme: A Proto-Type Global System

  • A. Denny Ellerman
Registered author(s):

    The European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is the world's first multinational cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. As an agreement between sovereign nations with diverse historical, institutional, and economic circumstances, it can be seen as a prototype for an eventual global climate regime. Interestingly, the problems that are often seen as dooming a global trading system — international financial flows and institutional readiness — haven't appeared in the EU ETS, at least not yet. The more serious problems that emerge from the brief experience of the EU ETS are those of (1) developing a central coordinating organization, (2) devising side benefits to encourage participation, and (3) dealing with the interrelated issues of harmonization, differentiation, and stringency. The pre-existing organizational structure and membership benefits of the European Union provided convenient and almost accidental solutions to the need for a central institution and side benefits, but these solutions will not work on a global scale and there are no obvious substitutes. Furthermore, the EU ETS is only beginning to test the practicality of harmonizing allocations within the trading system, differentiating responsibilities among participants, and increasing the stringency of emissions caps. The trial period of the EU ETS punted on these problems, as was appropriate for a trial period, but they are now being addressed seriously. From a global perspective, the answers that are being worked out in Europe will say a great deal about what will be feasible on a broader, global scale.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 500 Can't connect to If this is indeed the case, please notify (Sharmila Ganguly)

    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 0813.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Sep 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mee:wpaper:0813
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 77 Massachusetts Ave. (Building E40-279), Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
    Phone: (617) 253-3551
    Fax: (617) 253-9845
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mee:wpaper:0813. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sharmila Ganguly)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.