Governing Emissions Trading: Constructing Core Convergence Criteria for Linkage

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The emergence of emissions trading schemes has come to represent a central component of an increasingly fragmented climate governance landscape. Whilst market trading is far from uncontroversial as a climate policy tool, the presence and proliferation of emissions trading schemes raises new and challenging questions concerning the appropriate design of such schemes. The task of designing appropriate emissions trading architectures to avoid the development of conflicting norms, particularly where conflict could undermine the environmental integrity of such schemes, is now a fundamental consideration in climate governance research. This article engages with this concern by critically evaluating the concept of linkage before advancing a framework for assessing the compatibility of potential partner emissions trading schemes based on a series of core convergence criteria, the presence of which are considered a prerequisite to durable linkage. An incrementalist perspective is advanced which conceptualises linkage as a process, rather than a single one-time event. This article concludes that it is possible to construct a stable foundation for the implementation of linkages between emissions trading schemes based on core convergence criteria. This may provide a more fruitful pathway in view of the glacial progress of international negotiations to agree post-Kyoto binding commitments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-96
Number of pages34
JournalDublin University Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2017


  • EU ETS
  • carbon emissions trading
  • climate governance
  • linkage


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