Download publication

Policy Brief

The carbon buyers’ club: international emissions trading beyond Paris

The effort to define rules for international emissions trading faces the strong desire of nation states to develop their own climate policies, which collides with the need for tradable units in one country to be equivalent to tradable units in another country. To overcome this dilemma Georg Zachmann proposes a club of carbon-buying countries that would regulate only imported mitigation outcomes.

By: Date: April 4, 2017 Topic: Energy & Climate

The issue

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions is more difficult in some countries than in others. International emissions trading can help to reduce the overall cost of mitigation and ensure that companies in different countries face the same carbon price. Lower costs and tackling competitiveness concerns can enable higher levels of climate ambition. The Paris Agreement explicitly provides for international emissions trading, but the rules governing trading still need to be determined. In the absence of strict rules, international emissions trading might become a loophole leading to reduced climate ambition. And because of its consensus requirements, the United Nations process is unlikely to lead to comprehensive rules. To fill this gap, the European Union should engage with other nations to determine a set of rules that can serve as a gold standard for emissions trading anywhere in the world.

Policy challenge

The effort to define rules for international emissions trading faces the strong desire of nation states to develop their own climate policies, which collides with the need for tradable units in one country to be equivalent to tradable units in another country. To overcome this dilemma we propose a club of carbon-buying countries that would regulate only imported mitigation outcomes. We propose that private parties would be able, if permitted by the participating governments, to transfer any type of privately tradable emissions reduction unit across borders. But they would also be liable if the foreign units do not represent sufficient mitigation in the selling county. To bridge the period before final settlement, private parties would be able to borrow domestic compliance units, based on collateralising a certain amount of foreign units.

View comments
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

May
15
12:30

How do national energy policies fit into EU decarbonisation plans?

Through considering several different national perspectives, we discuss how to reconcile the EU Climate Strategy targets with national energy and climate policies.

Speakers: Maciej Burny, Carole Mathieu, Christian von Hirschhausen and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

A new climate strategy for the EU

At a pivotal point in time, three major EU sides come together to discuss the future climate strategy.

Speakers: Silke Karcher, Andrei Marcu, Raffaele Mauro Petriccione, Kathleen Van Brempt and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 19, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

An opportunity for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean

After a decade of false starts, producers should grab the chance to co-operate as exporters.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: March 12, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

The geopolitical implications of the global energy transition

Energy has traditionally played an important role in global geopolitics, contributing to the rise of great powers, the formation of alliances and, in many cases, also to the emergence of wars and conflicts. Every international order in modern history has been based on an energy resource. This piece discusses how the ongoing low-carbon energy transformation could reshape global geopolitics in the future.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: March 7, 2019
Read article More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Backstage: The next decade of European energy transition

This episode of 'The Sound of Economics' features Bruegel research fellow Simone Tagliapietra in conversation with Sir Philip Lowe and Alberto Pototschnig about the progress of the European energy transition as we prepare to enter the third decade of the 21st century.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 26, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

The European Energy Transition: A year ahead of the Twenties

This event will look at the most important issues related to energy for the next few years. The event will coincide with the launch of a book and online course on this topic.

Speakers: Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Dirk Buschle, Alicia Carrasco, Olivier Corradi, Jos Delbeke, Rémy Garaude-Verdier, Dolf Gielen, Jean-Michel Glachant, Pascal Lamy, Philip Lowe, Susanne Nies, Alberto Pototschnig, Laurent Schmitt and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 19, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

How the EU could transform the energy market: The case for a euro crude-oil benchmark

There is a strong case for an oil benchmark in euros. Trading energy markets in more than one currency is not unprecedented, and indeed used to be the norm. Europe – with its powerful currency and reliable regulatory environment – should stand a good chance of success.

By: Elina Ribakova Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 13, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

EU-Turkey energy and climate dialogues 2019

What is the cost of capital for wind energy investments in Turkey?

Speakers: Massimo d`Eufemia, Gustav Fredriksson, Can Hakyemez, Pelin Oğuz, Canan Ozsoy, James Rizzo, Umit Sahin, Simone Tagliapietra and Mehmet Erdem Yasar Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Istanbul Policy Center, Bereketzade Mahallesi, Bankalar Cd. No:2, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Date: January 17, 2019
Read article More by this author

Opinion

The UN climate conference in Katowice: A message from the European capital of coal

Following the COP24 climate talks in Poland, Simone Tagliapietra reviews the arguments for and challenges to decarbonisation.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate, Global Economics & Governance Date: December 12, 2018
Read article Download PDF More by this author

External Publication

A new strategy for EU-Turkey energy cooperation

Cooperation over energy and climate issues could be one of the components of the EU-Turkey Positive Agenda. Simone Tagliapietra proposes a new strategy for EU-Turkey energy cooperation, which envisions a shift of focus from gas and electricity to fields such as renewables and nuclear energy.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate, Global Economics & Governance Date: December 5, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Deep Focus: Renewing the clean energy strategy in the Mediterranean

In this episode of Deep Focus, Bruegel research fellow Simone Tagliapeitra explains how the nature of cross-Mediterranean energy relations needs to change, not only in line with new climate-change targets but also to meet the burgeoning energy demand outside Europe.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate Date: October 16, 2018
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

Policy Brief

The Euro-Mediterranean energy relationship: a fresh perspective

The author analyses the current renewable energy development in Southern Mediterranean countries (SMCs) and proposes a climate financing strategy that retreats from the Eurocentric approach. Not only will it allow the region to meet its energy demand sustainably, it will also benefit the EU, both in economic and political terms.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: October 16, 2018
Load more posts