In less than ten years, emissions trading has forged ahead as a climate policy instrument - from the setting of the agenda through the formulation of policy to the stage of implementation. This has happened at several policy levels: on the one hand, as international emissions trading in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, and on the other hand as emissions trading for energy-intensive companies within the European Union. Not only because of the speed of the process, but also because emissions trading is generally being perceived as an effective means to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, ist introduction is mostly regarded as a success story. This claim is here critically examined with the help of a number of theoretical hypotheses borrowed from the field of multilevel governance research. The theoretical discussion is woven into a detailed descriptive-analytic account of the introduction of emissions trading, bringing out the most important players, conflicts and milestones in the process. What were the consequences of this rapid introduction for the interdependence of players and institutions in the multi-level policy system? To what extent was it accompanied with a transfer of authority from national governments to supranational or international institutions? Can we speak here of a further loss of sovereignty by national states in the age of globalisation? And has the introduction of emissions trading, as a new generation of climate policy instruments, brought about institutional changes in negotiation patternsand decision-making processes? This set of questions is being derived from the concept of multi-level governance which serves as the framework of analysis of this paper and is then being used to analyse fifteen theses in order to explain the complexity of the introduction of emissions trading and highlight problems and deficits in the negotiating processes. The aim of the paper is to give a answer to the question of whether the meteoric rise of the policy instrument may be described as a "success story".
Marcel Braun, Tilman Santarius:
Climate Politics in the Multi-Level Governance System
Emissions Trading and Institutional Changes in Environmental Policy-Making
Wuppertal Paper no. 172 (June 2008)