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2010-09-30 | Report

The Progress of GHG Markets: Opportunities and Risks

Persson, Martin, Jessica Coria, Åsa Löfgren, Magnus Hennlock, Patrik Söderholm, Thomas Sterner and Markus Wråke. 2010. “The Progress of GHG Markets: Opportunities and Risks” Gothenburg Environmental Economics Report
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The purpose of this report is to build knowledge about the effects of the development of regional and international carbon markets and the auxiliary technology agreements that might be needed. Among the topics we address are: the evolution and integration of carbon markets, the impacts of policy and technology cost uncertainty on the cost of meeting targets through a carbon market mechanism, the effect of banking, price floors and ceilings, institutional constraints and technological change in the further development of carbon markets and their links to other environmental policy instruments, and the potential of REDD-plus to encourage sustainable forest development and climate mitigation.

The climate negotiations at the COP15 in December 2009 did not produce a new international treaty with binding emissions commitments but the Copenhagen Accord for dealing with post-2012 climate change. Given the current climate negotiation process it is unlikely that we will see a global climate agreement soon on a global cap between all Convention members participating in a single carbon market. We may be more likely to see a stepwise process moving towards this scenario, most likely involving linkages between different national policy programs when it comes to mitigation as well as offsetting emissions.

In such a process countries will offer commitments based on their domestic abilities, preferences and policies, norms and institutions. National and sub-national policies are thus likely to be the de-facto building blocks of nations’ abilities to make and fulfill international commitments. However, also with multilateral mitigation programs without binding commitments, carbon markets will be needed as well as international authorities that support measurement, reporting and verification rules and the international registries. Such markets will necessarily be complicated and temporary in a world without an overarching binding agreement. There will be numerous tradeoffs between different kinds of second-best arrangements.

The Progress of Green House Gas Markets: Opportunities and Risks, is the first report in the series Gothenburg Environmental Economics Report