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Using emissions trading to regulate global greenhouse gas emissions

Author

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  • Zhang, ZhongXiang

Abstract

The inclusion of emissions trading in the Kyoto Protocol reflects an important decision to address climate change issues through flexible market mechanisms. This Article addresses a number of policy issues that must be considered in designing and implementing an international greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions trading scheme. These include emissions trading models, the initial allocation of emissions permits and its competitiveness concerns, banking and borrowing, the liability rules for non-compliance, and bubbles. The following conclusions emerge from the discussion. First, although emissions trading could take place either on an inter-governmental basis or on an inter-source basis, sub-national legal entities are the best entities to trade emissions permits. Allocating permits to individual emissions sources will facilitate private participation in emissions trading. Moreover, it has been argued that individual governments should be left free to devise their own ways of allocating assigned amounts. Second, it has been pointed out that although national emissions trading systems could be modelled as either upstream or downstream or hybrid systems, the distinguishing features of broad coverage and administrative simplicity would make an upstream system the more attractive approach. Moreover, national emissions trading systems should incorporate the maximum degree of flexibility in banking. Third, the liability rules are essential to the success of an international GHG emissions trading scheme. In general, a seller beware liability works well in a strong enforcement environment. In the Kyoto Protocol, however, it may not always work. By contrast, a buyer beware liability could be an effective deterrent to non-compliance, but the costs of imposing it are expected to be very high. To strike a middle ground, it has been suggested a combination of preventive measures with strong but feasible end-of-period punishments to ensure compliance with the Kyoto emissions commitments. Such measures aim to maximize efficiency gains from emissions trading and at the same time, to minimize over-selling risks.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2000. "Using emissions trading to regulate global greenhouse gas emissions," MPRA Paper 13226, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13226
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13226/1/MPRA_paper_13226.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 1999. "The design and implementation of an international greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme," MPRA Paper 13046, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 1998. "Greenhouse gas emissions trading and the world trading system," MPRA Paper 12971, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Zhang, Zhong Xiang, 1999. "Should the rules of allocating emissions permits be harmonised?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 11-18, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Zhong Xiang, 2001. "Why has the energy intensity fallen in China's industrial sector in the 1990s?: the relative importance of structural change and intensity change," CDS Research Reports 200111, University of Groningen, Centre for Development Studies (CDS).
    2. Farhana Yamin & Jean-Marc Burniaux & Andries Nentjes, 2001. "Kyoto Mechanisms: Key Issues for Policy-makers for COP-6," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 187-218, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Annual retirement; auction; bubbles; buyer beware liability; carbon taxes; clean development mechanism; compliance reserve; compulsory insurance; emissions trading; grandfathering; greenhouse gases; international competitiveness; joint implementation; Kyoto Protocol; seller beware liability; World Trade Organization;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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