Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This Government Accountability Office Report (GAO-09-151) dated November 2008 is subtitled: Lessons Learned from the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. The Report concludes that In the EU "the ETS phase I established a functioning market for carbon dioxide allowances, but its effects on emissions, the European economy, and technology investment are less certain. Nonetheless, experts suggest that it offers lessons that may prove useful in informing congressional decision making. By limiting the total number of emission allowances provided to covered entities under the program and enabling these entities to sell or buy allowances, the ETS set a price on carbon emissions. However, in 2006, a release of emissions data revealed that the supply of allowances the cap exceeded the demand, and the allowance price collapsed. Overall, the cumulative effect of phase I on emissions is uncertain because of a lack of baseline emissions data. The long-term effects on the economy also are uncertain."