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Linkage of Tradable Permit Systems in International Climate Policy Architecture


  • Judson Jaffe
  • Robert N. Stavins


Cap-and-trade systems have emerged as the preferred national and regional instrument for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases throughout the industrialized world, and the Clean Development Mechanism -- an international emission-reduction-credit system -- has developed a substantial constituency, despite some concerns about its performance. Because linkage between tradable permit systems can reduce compliance costs and improve market liquidity, there is great interest in linking cap-and-trade systems to each other, as well as to the CDM and other credit systems. We examine the benefits and concerns associated with various types of linkages, and analyze the near-term and long-term role that linkage may play in a future international climate policy architecture. In particular, we evaluate linkage in three potential roles: as an independent bottom-up architecture, as a step in the evolution of a top-down architecture, and as an ongoing element of a larger climate policy agreement. We also assess how the policy elements of climate negotiations can facilitate or impede linkages. Our analysis throughout is both positive and normative.

Suggested Citation

  • Judson Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 2008. "Linkage of Tradable Permit Systems in International Climate Policy Architecture," NBER Working Papers 14432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14432
    Note: EEE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hahn, Robert W., 1982. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," Working Papers 402, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    2. Robert N. Stavins, 2008. "A Meaningful U.S. Cap-and-Trade System to Address Climate Change," Working Papers 2008.82, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Transaction Costs and Tradeable Permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-148, September.
    4. Kruger, Joseph & Oates, Wallace E. & Pizer, William A., 2007. "Decentralization in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Lessons for Global Policy," Discussion Papers dp-07-02, Resources For the Future.
    5. Helm, Carsten, 2003. "International emissions trading with endogenous allowance choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2737-2747, December.
    6. repec:reg:rpubli:60 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Tatsutani, Marika & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Managing Costs in a U.S. Greenhouse Gas Trading Program: A Workshop Summary," Discussion Papers dp-08-23, Resources For the Future.
    8. Bjart J. Holtsmark & Dag Einar Sommervoll, 2008. "International emissions trading in a non-cooperative equilibrium," Discussion Papers 542, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Michaelowa, Axel & Jotzo, Frank, 2005. "Transaction costs, institutional rigidities and the size of the clean development mechanism," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 511-523, March.
    10. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    11. Robert W. Hahn, 1984. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-765.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olmstead, Sheila M. & Stavins, Robert N., 2009. "An Expanded Three-Part Architecture for Post-2012 International Climate Policy," Working Paper Series rwp09-036, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Sheila M. Olmstead & Robert N. Stavins, 2012. "Three Key Elements of a Post-2012 International Climate Policy Architecture," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(1), pages 65-85.
    3. Jobst Heitzig, 2013. "Bottom-Up Strategic Linking of Carbon Markets: Which Climate Coalitions Would Farsighted Players Form?," Working Papers 2013.48, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Georg Grull & Luca Taschini, 2012. "Linking Emission Trading Schemes: A Short Note," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    5. Flachsland, Christian & Marschinski, Robert & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2009. "Global trading versus linking: Architectures for international emissions trading," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1637-1647, May.
    6. Massetti, Emanuele & Tavoni, Massimo, 2012. "A developing Asia emission trading scheme (Asia ETS)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S3), pages 436-443.

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    JEL classification:

    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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