Cap and Trade: The View from the United Kingdom

Vol. 26 No. 4

Mr. Hutchinson is partner with Mayer Brown LLP. Ms. Laborde is senior associate with Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Even the staunchest of climate sceptics would surely agree that global warming represents one of the most widely debated global policy issues of recent years. Measures to reduce rising carbon emissions are now a priority for the governments of most developed nations and cap and trade schemes are being trialled in a number of jurisdictions. Inexorably, all parts of the economy including the retail sector will feel the impact of these schemes.

In the past decade, the United Kingdom (UK) has set itself challenging targets to transition the country to a low carbon economy, including the ambitious goal of an 80 percent reduction in UK emissions by 2050. In the current economic climate, maintaining competitiveness is a clear priority and, since coming to power, the Coalition Government has shown a commitment to market-based initiatives to incentivize businesses to green their operations. A leaner regulatory agenda has also been promised, as well as compensation packages for some of the industries hardest hit by climate policy.

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