The world's carbon markets

A case study guide to emissions trading

Around the world, policymakers are facing the challenge of finding the most efficient systems to limit global warming pollution. Nations, states, provinces and cities are increasingly using efficient, market-based emissions trading programs as a way to cut carbon, forming a world of “bottom-up” climate actions. 

Environmental Defense Fund, a leading environmental non-profit, Institute for Climate Economics, a research institute, and International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), a business association, have partnered to create an online resource about emissions trading systems around the world.

Policymakers, academics, journalists and others will find detailed information about the key design elements and unique features of 19 multi-national, national, regional and local emissions trading systems that are operating or being considered to address climate change around the world.

The case studies include a brief analysis of the unique features of each program, as well as the challenges faced in the development, implementation, and operation of each. They also outline the following key design elements and important issues, such as:

  • Cap/ target for emissions reductions
  • Scope and coverage of the programs
  • Auction format
  • Allowance distribution
  • Flexibility provisions
  • Volatility and cost containment mechanisms
  • Competitiveness and anti-leakage provisions
  • Market regulation and oversight
  • Complementary and supplementary measures
  • Economic projections
  • Results to date



Media contact

  • Jennifer Andreassen
    202-572-3387 (office)
    202-288-4867 (cell)
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