Emissions Trading Worldwide: Status Report 2018

In the first year since the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, emissions trading worldwide has once again taken a significant step forward. Developments in 2017 bring the global ETS count to 21 systems in operation in early 2018, at different levels of government. With the launch of the Chinese national ETS, the share of global emissions covered by a domestic ETS has reached almost 15%. Now, economies with an ETS in place produce more than 50% of global GDP and are home to almost a third of the global population. These figures reflect the steady expansion of ETS policy and the strengthening of implementation around the world. 

The culmination of several years of hard work, 2017 has seen the emergence of three new ETSs as well major reviews, reforms and new legislation in four of the world’s pioneering systems: the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) jurisdictions of California, Québec and Ontario; the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); the European Union ETS (EU ETS); and the New Zealand ETS (NZ ETS). The reforms are coming at a crucial time, as policymakers are taking the lessons onboard from the past years of ETS operation, while sharpening their systems in preparation for the declared climate targets of the next decade and beyond. In this regard, the effect of the Paris Agreement has been to crystalize the international response into national and sub-national commitment to climate action, providing momentum to domestic policy at all levels of government.

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