Emissions Trading, an Exercise in Reforming Pollution Policy

By T. H. Tietenberg | Go to book overview

Preface

As anyone who has tried it knows, regulatory reform is easier said than done. Reform concepts which appear so disarmingly simple in the abstract world of theory turn out to be distressingly complex when applied. Regulations which from a distance seem so inherently unsupportable, upon closer inspection are discovered to have significant bases of support among various special interest groups. Since the status quo has so much inertia, many promising ideas end up strewn along the wayside. Survivors are few and far between.

What is the price of survivorship? How much of the original idea has to be sacrificed as the cost of gaining a place in the sun? One way to begin to answer these questions is to examine closely those reform packages, such as the emissions trading program, that have survived.

From my perspective, the emissions trading program is a particularly interesting example of a survivor because it alters the way regulators control air pollution. Historically, the political process had not only been insensitive to the point of view that environmental policy could be improved by a greater reliance on economic incentives, but, on those few occasions when serious attempts were made to incorporate economic incentives, it was downright hostile. In light of this hostility, the enduring role forged for the emissions trading program, an approach that relies heavily on economic incentives, is all the more remarkable.

In this book I attempt to evaluate the emissions trading program using two different benchmarks: (1) Did its introduction improve upon the policy that preceded it? and (2) How closely did it fulfill the basic objectives which motivated the program? The former benchmark is

-xi-

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Emissions Trading, an Exercise in Reforming Pollution Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • 1 / Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • 2 - /The Conceptual Framework 14
  • References 35
  • 3 - The Potential For Cost Savings 38
  • Summary 56
  • 4 - The Spatial Dimension 60
  • Summary 89
  • 5 - Distributing The Financial Burden 93
  • Summary 120
  • References 123
  • 6 - Market Power 125
  • Summary 145
  • 7 - The Temporal Dimension 149
  • Summary 165
  • 8 - Enforcement 168
  • Summary 184
  • 9 - Evaluation and Proposals For Further Reform 188
  • Concluding Comments 213
  • References 214
  • Index 217
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