Theory and Impact
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Soocheol Lee, Kazuhiro Ueta, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 18: Regional market-based climate policy in North America: efficient, effective, fair?
Despite promising recent developments, after the failure of the Waxman-Markey Bill in 2010 (Pooley 2010), ambitious federal level market-based approaches in the US seems very unlikely. The same is true for Canada, which has aligned its climate policy strategy to the US (Bernstein, Brunnée and Duff 2008; GoC 2013). However, several US states and Canadian provinces have acted on their own. Besides the US Northeast, British Columbia (BC) introduced a carbon tax in 2008 and California has started its cap-and-trade program in 2013. But can these programs be considered a sustainable alternative or at least a supplement to federal action, and which of the two programs does better under the given circumstances? In order to answer these questions, this chapter analyzes the designs and the effects of both programs in a comparative way based on modern environmental economics and climate justice arguments. By doing so, the chapter provides a comparative evaluation of two North American sub-national level market-based climate policy programs based on sustainability criteria, shows the merits and the challenges of such initiatives, identifies best-practice design elements, and provides recommendations for regional market-based climate policy design.
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