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Unintended Consequences: Climate Change Policy in a Globalizing World

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Abstract:

The cap-and-trade system introduced by the European Union (EU) in order to comply with carbon emissions reduction targets under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Kyoto Protocol (1997) has in some instances led to the opposite outcome of the one intended. In fact, the ambitious energy and climate change policy adopted by the EU—known as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)—has led to carbon leakage and in some instances to relocation or a shi in production of energy-intensive manufacturing to parts of the world where carbon reduction commitments are not in effect. EU business organizations state that corporate strategies are now directed toward expanding production overseas and reducing manufacturing capacity in the Union due to its carbon constraints. As the EU has been “going-it-alone” with mixed success in terms of complying with the Kyoto Protocol's binding emissions reduction targets, the net outcome of the ETS market-based climate change policy is more rather than less global CO2 emissions.

Keywords: CAP-AND-TRADE; CARBON CONSTRAINTS; CARBON LEAKAGE; ENERGY-INTENSIVE INDUSTRIES; EU EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ares.2012.030107

Publication date: December 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The field of research on environment and society is growing rapidly and becoming of ever-greater importance not only in academia but also in policy circles and for the public at large. This growth reflects the urgency of debate and the pace and scale of change with respect to the water crisis, deforestation, biodiversity loss, the looming energy crisis, nascent resource wars, environmental refugees, climate change, and environmental justice, which are just some of the many compelling challenges facing society today and in the future. It also reflects the richness and insights of scholarship exploring diverse cultural forms, social phenomena, and political-economic formations in which society and nature are intricately intertwined, if not indistinguishable.
    As a forum to address these issues, we are delighted to present an important new peer-reviewed annual: Environment and Society: Advances in Research. Through this journal we hope to stimulate advanced research and action on these and other critical issues and encourage international communication and exchange among all relevant disciplines.
    Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences. The publication will appeal to academic, research, and policy-making audiences alike.

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