, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 12-22

First online:

What Have We Learnt from the European Union’s Emissions Trading System?

  • Markus WråkeAffiliated withInternational Energy Agency Email author 
  • , Dallas BurtrawAffiliated withResources for the Future
  • , Åsa LöfgrenAffiliated withUniversity of Gothenburg
  • , Lars ZetterbergAffiliated withIVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) demonstrated the ability to design and launch a large-scale trading system in a short period of time. The path from initial reticence about emissions trading to implementation of the world’s largest program is an important history. Three issues play a large role in the evaluation of the program to date and its on-going development: allocation plans, cost uncertainty, and leakage of emissions to abroad. Decisions in Phase I and II (2005–2012) were responsive to questions of political feasibility and implementation, but some of these decisions including allocation in particular will be substantially revised in Phase III (2013–2020).


Emissions trading Carbon dioxide Climate change EU ETS