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The European Carbon Market in Action: Lessons from the First Trading Period

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Through its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the European Union is leading the world's first effort to mobilize market forces to tackle global climate change. This article, examines how the EU ETS has performed thus far, at the conclusion of the scheme's first trading phase (2005–2007). Insights drawn from this analysis may inform not only the scheme's future operation, but also the establishment of greenhouse gas trading programs outside Europe. This interim analysis finds that Phase I of the EU ETS (2005–2007) has successfully established a carbon price for significant segments of economic activity in Europe, as well as the necessary trading infrastructure and experience; that the price on carbon has so far had limited impact on the industrial competitiveness of European industry; that it has provided an important stimulus to greenhouse gas emission reductions outside of Europe, primarily through the Clean Development Mechanism; and that the EU ETS provides useful lessons for other countries seeking to limit GHG emissions and for future global climate negotiations.


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