The 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 period: 2004-2009



  • The Research Council of Norway (SAMSTEMT Programme)