Thursday, 19 April 2012

Going green - Competence allocation and regulatory functioning in the EU's emissions trading scheme

Following up on Monday's post, one question arising in the context of regulating environmental issues is where to allocate regulatory competences. Or, in other words, who is in the best position to take decisions about the ways of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases?

Josephine van Zeben has conducted a thorough study on the legal, economic and political aspects of this topic, which has resulted in a PhD thesis that she will defend on 11 May 2012. The book is available on her website

In summary, the book aims to show that 'the explicit recognition of the role of distinct competences in the regulatory process will bring existing theories of federalism closer in line with regulatory reality'. The theoretical framework is applied to a study of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which seeks to mitigate greenhouse gases through emissions trading. The study shows that '[t]he deviations from the theoretically optimal allocation in the trading phases of the EU ETS can explain some of the difficulties in the earlier trading phases. In turn, these deviations can be explained by the political economy of the EU ETS, which shows that optimal allocation is hard to achieve during the foundation of a new regulatory regime due to the relative strength of certain stakeholders in the political process.'

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