Should the EU ETS be Extended to Road Transport and Heating Fuels?

A new article published in Economics of Energy and Environnmental Policy outlines the benefits, costs, and policy design considerations of expanding the European Union’s Emissions Trading System to cover road transport and heating fuels—a move that would cap emissions in those sectors but may increase costs for consumers without proper policy design.

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Date

Nov. 10, 2021

Authors

Geoffroy Dolphin and Michael G. Pollitt

Publication

Journal Article in Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy

Reading time

1 minute

Abstract

This paper considers the current proposal to extend the EU ETS to cover CO2 emissions from the combustion of heating and road transport fuels. We argue that increased coverage of the EU ETS, together with a binding cap consistent with a net zero trajectory, would provide an EU-wide quantity backstop ensuring that the EU's cumulative emissions budget constraint is satisfied. As such, working alongside standards-based policies currently enacted in the covered sectors, it has the potential to (i) enhance environmental effectiveness by providing an intertemporal incentive for additional emissions reduction and (ii) enhance the (cost) efficiency of EU-wide climate policy by ensuring that no low-cost emissions reduction is left unexploited. Distributional implications remain a serious challenge to such an extension, but several mechanisms are available to alleviate them.

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