On 9 December 2002 the (Environment) Council of the European Union unanimously agreed on a common position on a Commission's proposal for a Directive establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading. This follows the idea that a common European emissions trading system should be preferred above a collection of national emissions trading systems. The European framework for emissions trading needs to be filled in by the Member States. One of their main tasks will be to allocate the greenhouse gas allowances according to a National Allocation Plan.
The use of new regulatory instruments as emissions trading will raise new legal questions, which not always can be foreseen before the real application of the instrument in practice. It does not seem to be that the relevant institutions in the European Community already have a clear insight in all the necessary provisions for a well-functioning and just emissions trading scheme. Especially the allocation of the tradable emissions rights can be questioned. With the present criteria, the allocation of the transferable rights will likely be a complicated and probably time-consuming task for the national governments. The European politicians seem to be willing to take this risk with emissions trading in order to build experience with combating the climate change effect.European Energy and Environmental Law Review