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Environmental Natural Resources Law

The Rise and Fall of Carbon Emissions Trading by Declan Kuch

By Declan Kuch

This e-book provides the result of the 1st full-scale emissions buying and selling schemes in Australia and across the world, arguing those schemes usually are not enough to 'civilize markets' and stop risky weather switch. as an alternative, it articulates the methods weather coverage must confront the collective nature of our difficulty.

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Simple percentage assessments of emissions reduced against some baseline are surprisingly difficult to find – and this is largely because they rely on counterfactual assessments. Few are willing to quantify ‘what would have happened otherwise’. The impossibility of economic prediction is often the excuse for advocating a carbon tax instead of trading (Wara, 2014), or for treating ex post evaluations with a great deal of scepticism (Tietenberg, 2006). The Rise of Emissions Trading 17 Studies of the effectiveness carbon emissions trading show modest reductions to date.

Callon’s (2009) civilizing markets thesis centres on experimentation. He seeks to reconceive carbon emissions trading as a platform by which to link different scales of economic experimentation with the imperative to curtail carbon emissions. Crucially, scale refers to the size of the experiment and its level of abstraction, with a scale of 1 referring to the largest-size experiment. Callon buys the neoclassical argument that carbon markets could be a cost-effective alternative to technological standards or more direct measures, such as bans on fossil-fuel extraction and use.

I argue that the European regime was more civilized, in the sense understood by Callon, as having developed institutions to reposition the distinctions between the scientific, economic and political components of emissions control. This is not to argue that the US pollution-control regime was more or 29 30 The Rise and Fall of Carbon Emissions Trading less efficient or rational because it was based on a market approach. , 2004). Nor is it to argue that the US sulphur permit regime was less real and more socially constructed than the European regime.

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