Book Reviews: Carbon Trading Law and Practice


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keywords: climate change, carbon trading. Kyoto Protocol, emissions trading schemes, market based systems, environmental markets

Whatever the future of the international climate change regime, carbon markets are here to stay and their number may well increase. Any book, therefore, that provides the reader with a clearer understanding of how carbon markets work, is a welcome contribution to the climate change literature. Carbon Trading Law and Practice fits most appropriately within this category. In fact, it provides the reader with an interesting picture of how international, regional and national carbon markets operate. It does so from a practitioners' perspective, describing them in a way that can be useful, not only for practitioners, but also for those legal and policy researchers who struggle to get to grips with the basics of emissions trading.

This book is divided into seven parts. Part 1 deals with the science of climate change and with the key elements of a cap and trade system. Part 2 focuses on international carbon markets (international emissions trading as provided for under the Kyoto Protocol) and on regional and national schemes (the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and other national schemes). In the latter, the author devotes particular attention to the United States (US) experience, shedding light on state and multi-state initiatives of interest to a non-US reader. Part 1 of the book has a clear scientific-economic focus while Part 2 emphasises the 'law' of carbon trading. The rest of the book is devoted to the 'practice' of carbon trading. Part 3 looks at the different types of project that can be developed under the Clean Development Mechanism, their development and funding. Part 4 provides a brief overview of other market instruments in the energy field. Part 5 turns its attention to US government support measures for the promotion and support of carbon projects. Part 6 sheds light on the primary and secondary carbon markets: i.e. the where and how credits are actually traded. Finally, Part 7 deals with carbon accounting.

The seven parts of this text are divided into 22 chapters, but a more streamlined structure, could have increased the book's clarity. Parts 1 and 2 provide an excellent overview of the science, the economics and the law behind carbon trading. However, Parts 3 to 7 could have been more appropriately amalgamated under the general topic of Carbon Trading Practice. The author, Scott D. Deatherage deals with a wide range of important issues. This review will highlight and comment on some key topics that this reviewer found to be particularly interesting, as a legal academic, rather than a practitioner.

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