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The EU Emission Trading Scheme

Aspects of Statehood, Regulation and Accounting


Stefan Veith

The emission trading scheme is the most recent instrument of the EU environmental policy. Its underlying mechanisms and economic consequences are yet less straightforward than policymakers initially had expected: As this study shows, the regulation probably yields unintended distributional effects and imposes additional risk on the regulated companies. Consequently, meaningful accounting for emission rights is not only a necessity for regulators and customers, who need transparency, but also for investors on capital markets, who bear the additional regulatory risk. This study empirically assesses the usefulness of various accounting alternatives and provides evidence that cost and fair value approaches dominate the widely used mixed models.


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5 Conclusions 169


5 Conclusions The aim of this study was to analyse the institutional framework of and eco- nomic consequences arising from the EU Emission Trading Scheme. In doing so, a review on the transformation of environmental and energy policies in the European Union as well as a normative analysis of mapping emission tights to management and financial accounting were provided. Finally, three empirical analyses were performed furnishing evidence for distinct economic conse- quences arising from this regulation. Basis of this study was a governance framework that develops an institu- tionalist concept of environmental and energy policies. Unlike prior research, this taxonomy asks for the actors providing welfare, and isolates the state, the community and the market as alternative solutions. Traditional environmental policy instruments rely on state interventions, prescribing technology or per- formance standards, subsidies or taxes. Even though all of these measures in- duce economic incentives – e. g. imposing a tax on certain goods, which leads to a differentiation in market prices – the (re)distribution of welfare rests within the competence of a public agency. A communitarian approach of environmental regulation consists of compensation or negotiated agreements between polluters and their victims. Completely differently works an ETS that develops its regula- tory character by means of its endogenous pricing mechanism. The state remains responsible for setting up and enforcing the framework, but the desired incen- tivising economic effect eventuates beyond the influence of the regulator. The overview given further sketched the implementation of this market- based instrument for the case of...

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