A recent paper by Strathclyde's political scientist Patrick Bayer and colleague Michaël Aklin from the University of Pittsburgh shows that carbon markets can help reduce carbon emissions even when market prices remain low. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (PNAS), the authors estimate that the European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has brought European emissions down by more than 1 billion tons, or roughly 4% of total EU-wide emissions between 2008-2016.
With countries around the world being tasked to renew and increase their climate commitments in the run-up to this year's United Nations climate conference in Glasgow (COP26), these new findings provide some reassurance that carbon markets have a role to play in countries'
national decarbonisation strategies. The paper's main insights were presented to colleagues at the UK Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and at a policy conference at the European Commission in Brussels. The project was funded by the British Academy, and the paper is available as open access publication here.