The Possibility and Effects of Including the Transport Sector in the EU Emission Trading Scheme
The European Union has initiated a scheme for trading with CO2 emission allowances as a measure to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels. Since January 2005 companies from certain energy demanding sectors, responsible for approximately 50 % of the total CO2 emissions in the EU, are participating in this scheme, the so called EU Emission Trading Scheme.
A trading scheme covering all sectors, i.e. all emissions in the EU would lead to the most cost efficient solution to reduce emissions by a certain amount. This means that the EU Emission Trading Scheme should be enlarged to cover also the transport sector, which is not participating today, but responsible for about 21 % of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.
There are three ways to include the transport sector in the EU Emission Trading Scheme, i.e. to administrate the handling and trading of emission allowances in the transport sector. The first is a so called downstream approach, meaning that the actual emitter of the GHG, in this case a private person driving a car or a haulage contractor using trucks to transport goods, would be responsible for acquiring and trading emission allowances in accordance to the amount of greenhouse gases that he emits. The second way is a so called upstream approach, meaning that the owner of fuel depots would be responsible for acquiring and trading emission allowances corresponding to the amount of fossil fuel that he is selling, which is proportional to the amount of greenhouse gases that is emitted when using the fuel. The third solution is to lay the responsibility for acquiring and trading emission allowances on the companies that are ordering the transportation service, indirectly causing greenhouse gas emissions when their goods are being transported.
All three solutions have their advantages and disadvantages, but the benefits of using the upstream approach are the greatest. By allocating the responsibility for keeping and trading emission allowances at the fuel depots, an extensive part of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use, not only in the transport sector, could be covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme to the lowest administrational cost possible.
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