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The Emerging Revolution In Emissions Trading Policy

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Executive Summary

Emissions trading policies initially relied on "Squatter's rights" principles granting emissions allowances to existing polluters for free. Recently, however, policy designers have largely abandoned this approach, requiring polluters to buy allowances from the public through auctions. Given the high financial stakes, this is a momentous shift. Given how skeptical experts and decision makers have been of the political viability of allowance auctions, and the opposition of powerful economic interests, it is also a remarkable political development.

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