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The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law edited by Carlarne, Cinnamon P; Gray, Kevin R; Tarasofsky, Richard (24th March 2016)

Part IV Setting up the International Mitigation Regime: Contents and Consequences, Ch.16 The Design and Implementation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading

Harro van Asselt

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law

Edited By: Cinnamon P. Carlarne, Kevin R. Gray, Richard Tarasofsky

Subject(s):
Climate change — Environmental disputes — Pollution — European Union (EU)

This chapter offers a cross-jurisdictional analysis of the design and implementation of mandatory emissions trading schemes. It traces the beginning of emissions trading schemes from the sulfur dioxide emissions trading scheme in the United States, which was implemented through the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. After initial experiments at a local and regional level, the United States launched the first large-scale, countrywide trading system. This program sought to address the acid rain problem by creating a trading regime for sulfur dioxide emissions. This was the birthplace of large-scale emissions trading systems and from this point onwards, emissions trading schemes began to spread across jurisdictions. The chapter describes how the EU’s speedy adoption of an emissions trading directive in 2003 could be seen as an instance of horizontal borrowing from the United States, spurred by the simple need to keep the costs of reducing emissions down.

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