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Potential gains from CO2 trading in the EU

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A new Green Paper from the European Commission on emissions trading foresees the setting-up of a CO2 trading system within the EU for the energy sector. Because any such international environmental agreement is self-enforcing, the participants must have an economic net gain from joining the proposed system. Our contribution is therefore to follow the Green Paper proposal and investigate whether member countries and the largest industrial boilers in the electricity sector actually will get significant net gains from CO2 trade in the European Union rather than undertaking domestic actions solely. We show, based on PRIMES model, that a full CO2 emission trading system between Annex B countries suggest overall cost savings in the order of 40 % compared to a situation with no trading at all between Member States. A tradable CO2 permit scheme with comprehensive coverage of emissions within the EU could reduce the total abatement costs by 32 % compared to a system with no trading. In comparison, a Community-wide system containing only the electricity and steam sector would reduce the total abatement costs by 13 % only. Though a tradable CO2 permit market for the power and steam sector can provide significant gains from trading, these gains can be almost four times higher compared to a trade system that includes all sectors in the EU. Thus, the electricity and steam sector is a fit target group as starting point but in the longer run, the system must be organised in a way that provides opportunities for other sectors to "opt-in" over time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Pages (from-to)303-13
Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Research areas

  • European Union, Green Paper, Cost Savings, PRIMES Model, Emissions Trading, CO2, Electricity And Steam Sector, Gains From Trade

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