Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Natalie P. Stoianoff, Larry Kreiser, Bill Butcher, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 14: Just ETS? Social justice and recent reforms in EU and US carbon markets
Besides environmental effectiveness and economic efficiency, social justice plays a key role in sustainable climate policy. Social justice was a founding principle of sustainable development and recent empirical research has proven the appreciation that people in various countries show for an equitable approach to climate policy. In addition, current energy transformation debates have raised questions on a fair burden sharing, especially because even an efficient policy mix is expected to increase overall costs. While still not the dominating force, carbon pricing has become more popular, and most certainly, in order to keep compliance costs to a minimum, market-based instruments must lead the way. Recently, cap- and- trade schemes have spread across the world, and while still notable design differences exist, linking domestic schemes continues to be a relevant supplement to global climate action. The EU still operates the flagship supra-national carbon market, but US regions are picking up with cross-state schemes. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), are of particular interest as, after heavy critique, they have undergone fundamental constructive reforms. Still, carbon market design has considerable justice implications, which, other than environmental and economic issues, have been widely neglected in research and policy.
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