Implementing the European CO2 committment: a joint policy proposal

Type: International
Authors: Michael Grubb, Helge Ole Bergesen, Jean Charles Hourcade, Jill Jaeger, Alessandro Lanza, Reinhard Loske, Liv Astrid Sverdrup, Angelica Tudini
Publisher: Royal Institute of International Affairs
Date: 1994


European policy towards climate change is of global importance. The EU itself accounts for about one-sixth of global emissions of carbon dioxide, and member states have played a leading role in the international negotiations around the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Yet European climate policy is in serious trouble. Sovereignity and international competitiveness arguments have continued to block progress on development of a comprehensive EU strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. The initial objective of stabilization of CO2 emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000 is unlikely to be realized, and no viable strategy for achieving goals beyond that date yet exists. This report brings together researchers from five of Europe's leading policy research institutes. It argues for a fresh approach at the European level - one that complements and reinforces national efforts. It proposes the adoption of a system of tradable quotas for CO2 emissions within the EU, giving a powerful incentive to member states to implement their own commitments, while offering them the option of investing in efforts elsewhere when this would be more cost-effective. This approach could not only break the stalemate in the EU but also provide a model for an effective global approach to limiting the threat of climate change.

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