Time flies when you’re having fun. And it stands still when disaster befalls. It seems like a long time ago, but it is only about 8 months since the collapse of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008 triggered a global recession. Before Lehman, most assumed that economic growth would continue, with the main questions focused on its magnitude and variegation across regions and countries. The big question in environmental economics was whether and to what extent we could create and implement policy interventions that would finally break the link between economic growth and rising greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) has been our “big idea” in Europe to create a price for carbon that symbolises the scarcity value of the atmosphere as an absorber of greenhouse gas, and provides a market incentive to break this link.
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