Separating the wheat from the chaff: Regulating greenhouse gases in a climate of uncertainty
This article discusses the difficulty of regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the face of uncertainty, particularly with respect to the level of reductions needed in the post-2012 era to avoid dangerous climate change. There are also a number of regulatory options available, including carbon taxes, emissions trading, regulations and standards, and fiscal measures. Yet emissions trading has emerged as the regulatory instrument of choice. Various proposed emissions trading schemes are analyzed against a theoretical model for the essential design features of such a scheme. The significant differences between all of these schemes indicate that it is impossible to design a “one size fits all” emissions trading scheme. To promote linking, however, sufficient similarities must exist.