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What drives cooperation in carbon markets? Lessons from decision-makers in the Australia-EU ETS linking negotiations

Evans, Stuart and Wu, Aaron Z. (2021) What drives cooperation in carbon markets? Lessons from decision-makers in the Australia-EU ETS linking negotiations. Climate Policy, 21 (8). 1086 - 1098. ISSN 1469-3062

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14693062.2021.1953436


The Australia-EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) linking negotiation was the first attempt to link ETSs with substantively different designs, and thus provides insights on the possibilities for heterogenous linking. It offers a case study of how emissions trading can enable cooperation between jurisdictions, while still being designed to fit local circumstances. This flexibility means that heterogeneous linking can accelerate the growth of international carbon markets, in turn enabling enhanced cooperation, reduced mitigation costs and therefore greater climate ambition. There is a range of drivers and facilitators of ETS-linking. Economic and political benefits drive cooperation, and this cooperation can be facilitated by geographic proximity, institutional compatibility, and cultural factors. In this paper, we use interviews with key policymakers from the European Commission and the Australian Government to assess the role of these factors in enabling cooperation. These interviews highlight the importance of domestic and international political considerations in driving cooperation in this case. Further, they show that mutual confidence in the quality of institutions and integrity of allowances was paramount to enabling the linking agreement. Cultural factors also contributed, with affinities built between technical experts facilitating policy and political problem-solving across jurisdictions. Ultimately, this case study shows that cooperation between highly diverse carbon markets is possible and may occur rapidly when the appropriate conditions are in place. Key policy insights Heterogenous linking facilitates cooperation between emissions trading systems and jurisdictions by providing scope for those individual jurisdictions to adopt design features appropriate to their unique local circumstances. There are distinct factors that drive and facilitate cooperation. Economic and political factors motivate cooperation but facilitating factors can include geographic links, institutional compatibility and cultural factors. The perceived credibility of an ETS is a key factor in identifying cooperative partners for linking, particularly important are measures to ensure environmental integrity and manage potential impacts on competitiveness. Aligning institutional elements, such as registry standards or cooperation between financial market regulators, may hasten linking arrangements once political circumstances are conducive to such an outcome.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2022 10:24
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 16:45

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