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A Framework for Achieving Environmental Integrity and the Economic Benefits of Emissions Trading Under the Kyoto Protocol

November 2000

Citation: ELR 11061

Author: Robert Nordhaus, Kyle W. Danish, Richard H. Rosenzweig and Britt Speyer Fleming


In a previous Article in ELR,1 the authors examined issues related to international greenhouse gas emissions trading under the as-yet unratified Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.2 This Dialogue builds upon, and assumes the reader's knowledge of, the previous Article.

As explained in that Article, the Kyoto Protocol provides that the countries listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B—and possibly private companies in those countries—may meet emission reduction commitments through the buying and selling of emission allowances called assigned amount units (AAUs).3 Many governments and firms are planning on using emissions trading as a compliance tool for the Kyoto Protocol's first "commitment period," which will run from 2008 to 2012. Because emissions trading can reduce the costs associated with implementing commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, it also can promote long-term participation in international efforts to address climate change.

Robert Nordhaus is a member of the Washington, D.C., law firm of Van Ness Feldman, P.C.; L.L.B., Yale Law School (1963); B.A., Stanford University (1960). Kyle W. Danish is an associate at Van Ness Feldman; J.D., Temple University School of Law (1997); M.P.A., Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (1996); B.A., Haverford College (1989). Richard H. Rosenzweig is a principal at Van Ness Feldman; M.A., American University (1984); B.A., Northeastern University (1982). Britt Speyer Fleming is an associate at Van Ness Feldman; J.D., American University Washington College of Law (1997); B.A., Dartmouth College (1994). The authors extend their gratitude to the following individuals for their helpful comments: Christian Albrecht, Carlton Bartels, Timothy Denne, A. Denny Ellerman, Joseph Goffman, Erik Haites, Dale Heydlauff, Fanny Missfeldt, Jake Werksman, Jonathan Wiener, and Thomas Wilson. Responsibility for any errors or omissions rests solely with the authors.

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