The Allocation of European Union Allowances: Lessons, Unifying Themes and General Principles
A. Denny Ellerman
On January 1st, 2005, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) scheme was officially launched, only two years after the European Council adopted the EU Emissions Trading Directive (European Community 2003). As a consequence of this formal start, the world’s largest ever market in emissions has been established, and European companies now face a carbon-constrained reality in form of legally binding emission targets. Within essentially one year, 2004, the international carbon market has gained momentum through major policy developments and quick market responses, which among others have enabled the establishment of a framework for the EU carbon market.
This paper is the concluding chapter of Rights, Rents and Fairness: Allocation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme, edited by the co-authors and forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. The main objective of this paper is to distill the lessons and general principles to be learnt from the allocation of allowances in the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), i.e. in the world’s first experience with allocating carbon allowances to sub-national entities. We discuss the lessons that emerge from this experience and make some comments on what seem to be more general principles informing the allocation process and on what are the global implications of the EU ETS. As has become obvious during the first allocation phase, the diversity of experience among the Member States is considerable, so that it must be understood that these lessons and unifying themes are drawn from the experience of most of the Member States, not necessarily from all. Lessons and unifying observations are grouped in three categories: those concerning the conditions encountered, the processes employed, and the actual choices.
Climate Change, Emission Trading, Allocation, Fairness, EU Policy
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