New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters
Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters PROBLEM DEFINITION: REASONS FOR THIS BOOK Climate change has undoubtedly been the most important topic in environmental law and policy on the agenda of both policy makers and environmental lawyers since the beginning of the 21st century. Moreover, it is highly likely that this will continue to be the case for at least a large part of the remainder of it as well. Lawyers critically accompany the political process by commenting on instruments that are developed at international, regional and local level to attempt to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its consequences. Much research has therefore understandably been devoted to the legal aspects of the document that constitutes the basis for the international legal framework to fight climate change, being the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and more particularly to its most important legal instrument, the Kyoto Protocol.1 Much research has more particularly been focused on the question of which would be the legal or policy instrument most suited to provide incentives to industry and other sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In line with the use traditionally suggested by economists of Pigovian taxes to internalize environmental externalities, the marketbased instrument of emissions trading has become very popular not only in theory but also in practice. Economic literature is however still divided on the preference for carbon taxes or carbon trading,2 and some still argue for taxes, or even a hybrid system between emissions trading and a tax.3 Despite...