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Neoliberalism, climate governance and the scalar politics of EU emissions trading

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The neoliberalisation of international climate policy through devices such as emissions trading has led to a significant restructuring of governance competencies between supranational, national and non-state actors. This article explores the implications of this restructuring for the scalar politics of climate governance by examining the European Union emissions trading scheme, the world's largest multi-state carbon-trading scheme. Analysis shows that although the member states were prepared to accede to a common legal framework for emissions trading, its implementation has been characterised by intense sovereignty disputes over emissions allowances. The article concludes by reflecting on the scalar politics of international climate governance in an unevenly regulated and competitive world.
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Keywords: European Union; climate policy; emissions trading; neoliberalism; regimes; scale

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Email:

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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