Emissions Trading Ethics

Ethics, Policy and Environment 19 (1):60-75 (2016)
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Although emissions trading is embraced as a means to curb carbon emissions and to incentivize the use of renewable energy, it is also heavily contested on ethical grounds. We will assess the main fundamental objections and possible counterarguments. Although we sympathize with some of these arguments, we argue that they are unpersuasive when an emissions trading system is well designed: emissions should be accounted ‘upstream,’ on the production rather than the consumer level. Moreover, allowances should be auctioned, and regulatory measures could instigate the right kind of behavior towards the environment.



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