Avoiding Europe's Carbon Trading Missteps

Early carbon trading efforts flopped because regulators created too many credits and gave them away for free. Washington wants to do better
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Berlaymont Building, a modernist, glass-fronted structure in the center of Brussels, is home to the European Commission—the European Union's executive branch. Nicknamed the "Berlaymonster" because of its dominating position in a wealthy neighborhood of the Belgian capital, the building is bustling with policymakers from the European Union's 27 member states on most days. But over the past three years, the Commission's offices have welcomed guests from further afield. U.S. officials have made repeated visits to tap Europe's knowledge of carbon trading to help them develop a similar scheme—one that is now working its way through Congress.

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