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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.

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Past Event

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This event is part of the joint Bruegel-IPC initiative European Neighbourhood Energy and Climate Dialogues. This is a closed door event, open only to Bruegel's members and a group of experts.

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Speakers: Jos Delbeke, Karen Pittel, Ian Parry, Gregor Pett and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: October 17, 2017
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Fostering energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa: what role for Europe?

Lack of energy access is a major challenge for Sub-Saharan Africa. How can Europe contribute to solving this issue?

Speakers: San Bilal, Laura Cozzi, Alexander Huurdeman, Lapo Pistelli and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: October 5, 2017
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Policy Contribution

Ukraine’s unfinished reform agenda

This Policy Contribution analyses the Ukrainian economic, institutional and political reforms of 2014-17 in terms of their sustainability and completeness, and evaluates what remains to be done. Compared to previous attempts, the current reform round has proved more successful and some politically difficult decisions have been taken (for example, the elimination of gas subsidies), but it remains incomplete in many important areas

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External Publication

The role of international institutions in fostering sub-Saharan Africa’s electrification

With a new commentary published by the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, Simone Tagliapietra and Morgan Bazilian discuss the role of international institutions in bringing electricity to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The authors offer a review of global financing initiatives for SSA’s electrification, and conclude that better coordination and information-sharing mechanisms to track the rapidly-changing landscape will be critical to achieve SSA energy access goals.

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This book, co-edited by Bruegel's Research Fellow Simone Tagliapietra, explores in detail the challenges which the European gas markets currently face, and the opportunities they present. Bringing together some of the most prominent gas experts on Europe from both academia and industry, this edited volume provides a comprehensive analysis of the various economic, political and technological factors that interact in this sector.

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Endowed with half of the world’s known oil and gas reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has become a cornerstone of the global energy architecture. This architecture is currently undergoing a structural transformation, prompted by two different forces: decarbonisation policies and low-carbon technology advancements. This book seeks to address the following research question: are MENA oil-exporting countries equipped to prosper in times of global decarbonisation?

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External Publication

Review of EU-third country cooperation on policies falling within the ITRE domain in relation to Brexit

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