Situating the Individual within Climate Law: A behavioural law and economics approach to end-user emissions trading

Suryapratim Roy

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This dissertation analyses the desirability of End-user Emissions Trading (EET) regulation to combat climate change within the legal order of the European Union. Notably, the issues of public responsiveness, political acceptance, and the operation of such a discrete policy mechanism to reduce carbon emissions within the European regulatory framework are examined.

In relation to public responsiveness, the dissertation explores the potential of Behavioural Law and Economics (BLE) to assess the interplay between incentives and motivation, and whether individuals or households could effectively respond to a carbon trading scheme. The axiological and methodological basis of BLE is examined to assess its utility. The dissertation also describes an experimental study conducted and the inferences that can be drawn for carbon policy design.

It moves on to the potential of BLE to inform the issue of political acceptance, and develops the concept of discursive capture to demonstrate the possibility of irrational regulatory decisions. With respect to the regulatory framework, a theoretical understanding of ‘end-user’ as a legal category is provided, arguing that the end-user need not be an individual or household, but rather the most-advantaged agent and least cost avoider.

Using subsidiarity and proportionality as analytical tools to examine the role of the European Union, the dissertation demonstrates that climate regulation is geared towards the assignment of liability to industrial actors, and their ability as organised economic actors to respond to external economic incentives. It ultimately argues that given the difficulty of making individuals and households equivalent, the presence of bargaining costs, and the cost of enforcing such a scheme, it would be advisable to distribute responsibility to firms for mitigating emissions attributable to households.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Couwenberg, Oscar, Supervisor
  • Woerdman, Edwin, Supervisor
  • Alemanno, A., Assessment committee, External person
  • Colombi Ciacchi, Aurelia, Assessment committee
  • Nicola, F., Assessment committee, External person
Award date23-Nov-2017
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-0272-7
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0271-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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