Emissions Trading, an Exercise in Reforming Pollution Policy

By T. H. Tietenberg | Go to book overview

2 /The Conceptual Framework

Why have emission reduction credits become the centerpiece of environmental policy reform? To answer this question, as well as to provide a basis for evaluating how successful the reforms have been, some notion of an optimal mechanism for allocating control responsibility must be defined. This mechanism can then serve as one of the benchmarks against which the existing system can be measured.

As is well known in the economics literature, the mechanism that is most closely related to the emissions trading program is the transferable discharge permit (TDP) market. Under fairly general conditions TDP markets encourage rapid compliance with a cost-effective allocation of the control responsibility. Because the emissions trading program created by EPA is a special case of this more general approach, the large amount of analysis which has been directed toward the former can be used profitably to understand, evaluate, and create an agenda for reform of the latter.


THE REGULATORY DILEMMA

There are two principal participants in the process to regulate the amount of pollution in the nation's air. While the regulatory authority has the statutory responsibility for meeting pollution targets, the human sources of the pollutant (such as industries, automobile drivers, etc.) must ultimately take the actions which will reduce pollution sufficiently to meet the target.

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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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