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The EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Key Conditions and Prospects for Effectiveness

EU emissions trading schemeThe EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) entered into force in October 2003. This concludes a major policy shift in EU climate policy; from reluctance to leadership in terms of the development of international emissions trading systems.

Hence, a first aim of this project has been to explain this major policy shift and the design of the emerging EU emissions trading system, including the initial allocation of allowances. To what extent can we understand the design of the system as the result of a traditional power-play between governments (as emphasised by so-called liberal intergovernmentalism) or do we have to bring in a much more complex and multi-layered perspective (cf. so-called multilevel governance)? Not least, to what extent have major stakeholders been consulted and given weight in the policy-making process?

It was assumed that a central condition for an effective operation of the system was an inclusive and legitimate policy-making process. Hence, on the basis of this analysis of the policy-making process, the second aim of the project was to evaluate the prospective effectiveness of the scheme at EU level as well as in selected member states.

The links between the emerging Norwegian emissions trading system and the EU system was given special attention.

Project leader: Jørgen Wettestad

Project period: 2004-2009


Wettestad, Jørgen, 'European Climate Policy: Toward Centralized Governance?' Review of Policy Research, Vol 26, No 3, 2009, pp. 311-328.

Skjærseth, Jon B. and Jørgen Wettestad, 'The Origin, Evolution and Consequences of the EU Emissions Trading System'. Global Environmental Politics, Vol 9, No 2, 2009, pp. 101-123.

Skjærseth, Jon Birger and Jørgen Wettestad, EU Emissions Trading: Initiation, Decision-making and Implementation. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008, 216 p.

Skjærseth, Jon Birger and Jørgen Wettestad, 'Implementing EU Emissions Trading: Success or Failure?'. International Environmental Agreements, Vol 8, No 3, pp. 275-290.

Wettestad, Jørgen, 'Monitoring and Verification'. In Bodansky, D., J. Brunnee and E. Hey (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 974-995.

Sæverud, Ingvild Andreassen and Jørgen Wettestad, 'Norway and Emissions Trading: From Global Front-runner to EU Follower'. International Environmental Agreements, Vol 6, No 1, 2006, pp. 91-108.

Wettestad, Jørgen and Sæverud, Ingvild Andreassen, Implementing EU Emissions Trading: Institutional Misfit? FNI report 10/2005. Lysaker, FNI, 2005, 24 pp.

Sæverud, Ingvild Andreassen and Jørgen Wettestad, 'Norge utenfor EUs kvotesystem' ('Norway Outside EU's Quota System'). Aftenposten, 20 June 2005. In Norwegian.

Wettestad, Jørgen and Ingvild Andreassen Sæverud, Implementing EU emissions trading: Institutional misfit? Paper presented at the 7th Nordic Environmental Social Science Research Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 15-17 June 2005.

Wettestad, Jørgen, 'The Making of the 2003 EU Emissions Trading Directive: An Ultra-Quick Process due to Entrepreneurial Proficiency?' Global Environmental Politics, Vol 5, No 1, 2005, pp. 1-24.

Jørgen Wettestad, 'The Rapid EU Process: Causes and consequences'. Environment, Vol 46, No. 9, 2004, pp 43-44.

Christiansen, Atle C., ‘The Role of Flexibility Mechanisms in EU Climate Strategy: Lessons Learned and Future Challenges?’. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Vol 4, 2004, pp. 27-46.
 Related focal points of research:

   European energy and environmental politics
   Climate change

Project funding:

   The Research Council of Norway (SAMSTEMT Programme)

Other related FNI projects:

   Reforming the EU Emissions Trading System: Causes and Consequences

 Recent relevant FNI News:

Understanding the Fascinating Development of the EU ETS (13.03.08)

Recent media coverage:

'Skrev bok om kvotehandelens historie' ('Wrote Book on the History of Quota Emissions Trading'), Norwegian EU Delegation, 7 November 2008. In Norwegian.

Fridtjof Nansen Institute
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