Emissions Markets: Rescuing Environmental Law from a Crisis of Legitimacy

Douglas A. McWilliams
Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey L.L.P.
April 21st, 2004, 8:00 to 9:00 pm
Bentley 227

McWilliams_Douglas1Controlling air pollution in the 21st century increasingly involves markets where companies trade freely in limited rights to pollute. Properly established emissions markets help environmental professionals translate environmental improvement innovations into cost savings and profit. By contrast, many existing laws offer no incentives for doing more than what is required, and some actually discourage companies from innovating or implementing incremental environmental improvements. Further, companies experience significant environmental compliance costs in areas where environmental improvements are difficult to quantify. As a result, environmental laws face a growing crisis of legitimacy in America. Emissions markets help reverse this trend by allowing companies greater latitude in deciding how to achieve targeted emission reductions in a way that is most compatible with their business goals.

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