| FNI NEWS
Understanding the Fascinating Development of the EU
(13.03.2008) A new FNI
book digs deep to find out why the EU changed its position from leading skeptic
to leading proponent of greenhouse gas emissions trading, how it managed so
rapidly to establish the world's first international emissions trading scheme
(ETS), and what its consequences so far are.
"This book is also
an important tool to understand the background for the Commission's January
2008 proposal for a revised ETS post-2012, and to reason soundly about the
determinants for the decision-making process ahead," says co-author
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme has been
characterized as one of the most far-reaching and radical environmental
policies for many years. Given the EU's earlier resistance to this market-based
and US-flavoured programme, the development and implementation of the EU ETS
has been rapid. This novel approach to environmental regulation has the
potential to affect not only greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, but also
international strategies for climate change protection.
In their new
book 'EU Emissions Trading: Initiation, Decision-making and
Implementation', Senior Research Fellows Jon
Birger Skjærseth and Jørgen
Wettestad of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) make a thorough analysis
of the political processes behind the creation and implementation of the EU
"We first of all found that the EU changed its position due to the Kyoto
Protocol and more importantly because of the truly entrepreneurial leadership
exercised by the European Commission," says Jon Birger Skjærseth. "The
Commission initiated the EU ETS, built independent knowledge and crafted
support for the system among stakeholders. Without the Commission's role in
this phase, there would probably not have been an EU ETS," he
The book then goes on to analyse how the system could be
introduced so rapidly and explains this most importantly by the member states'
success in securing a decentralized system with significant national autonomy
in setting reduction targets. The US exit from the Kyoto Protocol also
contributed to galvanize European support for the ETS.
however, find that the compromises that were made in the rapid process have had
"The main implementation problem so far has been the far too
lenient emission targets for the installations covered by the system, which
have led to a collapse in the carbon price," explains Jørgen Wettestad.
"This problem can largely be traced back to the decentralized nature of the
system providing each member state with incentives to protect their own
industries. The Commission is now addressing this, by centralizing the system
and pushing the member-states towards more ambitious targets," he ends.
Citation: Skjærseth, Jon Birger and Jørgen
Wettestad, EU Emissions Trading: Initiation, Decision-making and
Implementation. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008, 216 p. ISBN 978-0-7546-4871-0
For more information and orders, contact
Peter Vis, European
'EU emissions trading was always and
remains an ambitious project. Few, if any, of those involved would have
expected the scheme to have been put in place by the European Union so quickly.
Here is a meticulously researched account of how and why it happened. On the
basis of original documentation and first-hand accounts, this important work
re-constitutes the various stages of the process, from conception to
will fascinate political scientists and policy-makers, as
well as those interested in European integration and environmental
Sebastian Oberthür, Vrije Universiteit
'Solidly built on political science concepts, this
book convinces with its systematic and comprehensive exploration of the
emergence, development and effectiveness of the EU Emissions Trading system
an asset for any bookcase on EU and global environmental
Christian Egenhofer, Centre for European Policy
Studies (CEPS), Brussels and University of Dundee, UK:
tell the real story of the politics behind the EU ETS. By resolving the mystery
as to why it was the EU that implemented the first international CO2 trading
scheme, this book fills a crucial research gap for those working on EU and
international environmental policy. At the same time, the book is a fine case
study of how the EU works in practice, making interesting reading for scholars
of European integration.'
Malcolm Hill, Loughborough University,
review in Journal of Contemporary European Studies
Paterson, University of Ottawa, Canada:
Download review in
FNI's research on European energy and
'The EU Emissions
Trading Scheme: Key Conditions and Prospects for Effectiveness'
The Commissions Proposal for a Revised
ETS Looking Backwards and Forwards. Presentation, mainly based
on the book, by Jørgen Wettestad at an Environmental Policy Forum on the
EU ETS in Brussels 28.02.2008.
|The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an
independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental,
energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a
multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science,
economics, and international law.