Emission trading schemes  


Zoi Nikopoulou
The Kyoto Protocol introduced the concept of emissions control to a global audience. Under this agreement, in 2005 the EU established a European Trading Scheme (ETS) for trading carbon dioxide (CO2).
But ‘cap-and-trade’ programs were already in operation in the US, where nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) had been traded since 1994. In fact, in Los Angeles ships can also participate in the local scheme, exchanging credits with land installations of the coastal zone. US EPA proclaims the success of emission trading schemes. 

Emissions trading schemes such as ETS or the US equivalent naturally have critics and supporters. Each program operates under a different frame, according to the ambition level, the environmental effects of the gasses and other parameters of fermentation. 
The European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) currently covers most large industrial installations, and as of recently aviation.  

The  other transport sectors including maritime may also come into  consideration when expanding the EU ETS after 2012. There are many options for how emissions trading could be applied to the transport sector(s). Such a scheme could cover all transport sectors or separate schemes for sub sectors such as road or maritime transport.
The scheme could be ‘open’ i.e. linked to the EU ETS and other trading systems, or ‘closed’ i.e. restricted to the sector itself. Then there are a wide number of other design options and criteria to consider. Maritime transport is being accounted for the first time for its emissions – mainly NOx and SOx- while regulation and policy are being formed.