Emissions trading ethics

Jo Dirix, Wouter Peeters, Sigrid Sterckx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
293 Downloads (Pure)


Although emissions trading is embraced as a means to curb carbon emissions and to incentivize the use of renewable energy, it is also heavily contested on ethical grounds. We will assess the main fundamental objections and possible counterarguments. Although we sympathize with some of these arguments, we argue that they are unpersuasive when an emissions trading system is well designed: emissions should be accounted ‘upstream,’ on the production rather than the consumer level. Moreover, allowances should be auctioned, and regulatory measures (such as an escalating tax on additional allowances) could instigate the right kind of behavior towards the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-75
JournalEthics, Policy and Environment
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jun 2016


  • climate change
  • emissions trading


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