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Reclaiming the Atmospheric CommonsThe Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and a New Model of Emissions Trading$
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Leigh Raymond

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034746

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034746.001.0001

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Economics Is Not Enough: The “Old Model” of Cap and Trade

Economics Is Not Enough: The “Old Model” of Cap and Trade

(p.45) 3 Economics Is Not Enough: The “Old Model” of Cap and Trade
Reclaiming the Atmospheric Commons

Leigh Raymond

The MIT Press

This chapter describes the “old” model of cap-and-trade policy design that largely controlled emissions trading policy from its origins in the 1970s through the 1990s, under which emissions trading programs were adopted reluctantly, and “grandfathered” emissions allowances to current emitters at no cost. It also describes some important events starting in the 1990s that helped lay the groundwork for the sudden switch to auctions in RGGI, including: greater attention to allocation rules by political actors, new precedents such as spectrum rights auctions and severance taxes on some nature resources, new political and economic pressures from electricity deregulation, and the emergence of “public benefit” charges and programs to improve energy efficiency for consumers. In addition, this period saw the emergence of new polluter pays and public ownership normative frames in the context of emissions allowances. At the same time, the chapter documents how these initial changes were insufficient to successfully promote allowance auctions in the development of two prominent cap and trade programs: the initial phase of the EU ETS from 1998-2005, and the NOx Budget emissions trading program from 1994-2005.

Keywords:   Cap and trade, Acid rain program, Spectrum auctions, Severance taxes, Electricity deregulation, NOx Budget program, EU ETS, Public benefit charges

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