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Irina Popova 1
  • 1 RANEPA, 11 Prechistenskaya naberezhnaya, Moscow, 119034, Russian Federation

Emission Trading Systems as an Instrumentin the Toolkit of Decarbonization Strategies

2022. Vol. 17. No. 4. P. 62–94 [issue contents]

At the 2021 Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow(COP 26), many leading economies cemented their intention to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century (2050–70). However, the geopolitical and economic crisis of 2022 threatens to reduce the priority of decarbonization policyand postpone the introduction of more restrictive measures. In the face of growing constraints, the choice of climatepolicy instruments becomes even more complex and important. It is necessary to analyze different options from thelow-carbon development policy toolkit to understand their strengths and weaknesses and their potential to be usedto build a comprehensive policy. This article analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of an emissions trading system(ETS) as a tool for direct carbon pricing—a measure that experts from international organizations, as well as theacademic community, believe is essential for achieving climate goals.Despite the fact that carbon taxes (the second option of direct pricing) are easier to implement and administer,many jurisdictions still opt for an ETS. Several factors influence the choice of an ETS as a decarbonization tool: ifoptimally designed, a market-based mechanism provides cost-effective emission reductions, there is potential forlinkage into larger systems, and the flexibility of the instrument may provide additional benefits—China’s nationalETS is a good example of exploiting this flexibility. Political and administrative characteristics (the EuropeanUnion (EU), Germany, the UK, California), Kyoto, Brussels, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment (OECD) effects (Mexico and other jurisdictions) play an important role in the choice in favour of anETS.The experience of complex and comprehensive low-carbon development strategies already being implementedshows that it is not necessary to place the ETS at the centre, as the cornerstone of policy. The role of an ETS in theentire set of decarbonization measures can be central, supportive, or enabling. They can have different objectives andstimulate not only direct emission reductions, but also technological transformation and energy transition.For Russia as a federal state, conducting pilot projects with different instruments of carbon pricing implementedin different regions seems to be the best solution for the near future in order to find the right instruments for the LowGreenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy.

The article was written on the basis of the RANEPA state assignment research programme

This article was submitted on 01.08.2022
Citation: Popova I. (2022) Emission Trading Systems as an Instrument in the Toolkit of Decarbonization Strategies. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 17, no 4, pp. 62–94 (in English)
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