IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The EU Emissions Trading Directive: Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls


  • Pizer, William

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Kruger, Joseph


The European Union is on the verge of establishing an emissions trading program ten times the size of the Acid Rain trading program in the United States. Its design takes advantage of many lessons from existing experience with trading programs, as well as economic theory, and innovates in important ways. While we view this as an impressive development, concerns about equity, enforcement, and efficiency remain. Specifically, a lack of data and weaker environmental institutions in some EU Member States raises questions about both allowance allocations and compliance and enforcement. Although much attention has focused on whether prices will be “too low” in the first phase of the program, a greater risk is that uncertainty about program elements, technology and behavioral response, and external events could create volatile markets and costly compliance in the second phase. Regardless of outcome, the EU trading system will be influential in future international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

Suggested Citation

  • Pizer, William & Kruger, Joseph, 2004. "The EU Emissions Trading Directive: Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls," Discussion Papers dp-04-24, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-24

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tom Tietenberg, 2003. "The Tradable-Permits Approach to Protecting the Commons: Lessons for Climate Change," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 400-419.
    2. Cramton, Peter & Kerr, Suzi, 2002. "Tradeable carbon permit auctions: How and why to auction not grandfather," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 333-345, March.
    3. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2003. "The Paparazzi Take a Look at a Living Legend: The SO2 Cap-and-Trade Program for Power Plants in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-03-15, Resources For the Future.
    4. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Regulating stock externalities under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 416-432, March.
    5. Jacoby, Henry D. & Ellerman, A. Denny, 2004. "The safety valve and climate policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 481-491, March.
    6. Franck Lecocq & Karan Capoor, "undated". "State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2003," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13416, The World Bank.
    7. Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Rebating Environmental Policy Revenues: Output-Based Allocations and Tradable Performance Standards," Discussion Papers dp-01-22, Resources For the Future.
    8. Blackman, Allen & Harrington, Winston, 1999. "The Use of Economic Incentives in Developing Countries: Lessons from International Experience with Industrial Air Pollution," Discussion Papers dp-99-39, Resources For the Future.
    9. Bernard, Alain & Paltsev, Sergey & Reilly, John L. & Vielle, Marc & Viguier, Laurent, 2003. "Russia's Role in the Kyoto Protocol," IDEI Working Papers 237, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    10. Burtraw, Dallas & Evans, David, 2003. "The Evolution of NOx Control Policy for Coal-Fired Power Plants in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-03-23, Resources For the Future.
    11. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard, 1998. "The Political Economy of Market-Based Environmental Policy: The U.S. Acid Rain Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 37-83, April.
    12. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & Paul, Anthony, 2001. "The Effect of Allowance Allocation on the Cost of Carbon Emission Trading," Discussion Papers dp-01-30-, Resources For the Future.
    13. J. David Tàbara, 2003. "Spain: words that succeed and climate policies that fail," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 19-30, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hilary Sigman, 2011. "Monitoring and Enforcement of Climate Policy," NBER Chapters,in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, pages 213-225 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gillenwater, Michael & Breidenich, Clare, 2009. "Internalizing carbon costs in electricity markets: Using certificates in a load-based emissions trading scheme," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 290-299, January.
    3. Heshmati, Almas & Abolhosseini, Shahrouz, 2014. "Market Design for Trading Commoditized Renewable Energy," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 372, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    4. Rogge, Karoline S. & Schleich, Joachim & Betz, Regina, 2006. "An early assessment of national allocation plans for phase 2 of EU emission trading," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S1/2006, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    5. Burtraw, Dallas & Kruger, Joseph & Zetterberg, Lars & Åhman, Markus, 2005. "The Ten-Year Rule: Allocation of Emission Allowances in the EU Emission Trading System," Discussion Papers dp-05-30, Resources For the Future.
    6. Streimikiene, Dalia & Roos, Inge, 2009. "GHG emission trading implications on energy sector in Baltic States," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 854-862, May.
    7. Soleille, Sebastien, 2006. "Greenhouse gas emission trading schemes: a new tool for the environmental regulator's kit," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(13), pages 1473-1477, September.
    8. Schleich, Joachim & Betz, Regina & Rogge, Karoline S., 2007. "EU emission trading: better job second time around?," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S2/2007, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    9. Richard D. Morgenstern, 2004. "Policy Studies on Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Economic Development: Synergies and Challenges," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 25278, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Michael Pollan, 2005. "Opportunities for GHG Mitigation in Latin America: Carbon Finance and the Clean Development Mechanism," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 25198, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Nelson, Per-Kristian, 2004. "Emissions Trading with Telecommuting Credits: Regulatory Background and Institutional Barriers," Discussion Papers dp-04-45, Resources For the Future.
    12. Jon Skjærseth & Jørgen Wettestad, 2008. "Implementing EU emissions trading: success or failure?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 275-290, September.
    13. Richard D. Morgenstern, 2004. "Policy Studies on Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Economic Development: Synergies and Challenges," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2977, Inter-American Development Bank.
    14. Stefan Weishaar, 2007. "CO 2 emission allowance allocation mechanisms, allocative efficiency and the environment: a static and dynamic perspective," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 29-70, August.
    15. Hintermann, Beat, 2010. "Allowance price drivers in the first phase of the EU ETS," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-56, January.
    16. Michael Pollan, 2005. "Opportunities for GHG Mitigation in Latin America: Carbon Finance and the Clean Development Mechanism," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2976, Inter-American Development Bank.
    17. Margaret Walls & Peter Nelson & Elena Safirova, 2005. "Telecommuting and environmental policy - lessons from the Ecommute program," ERSA conference papers ersa05p801, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    European Union; climate change; emissions trading;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-24. 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: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.