A Survey of Abatement and Firm Behaviour in the EU ETS (SAFE)

The European Emission Trading System (EU ETS) that covers greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and energy supply is a key instrument of the EU's climate policy. Since the start of the scheme in 2005, the credibility of the EU ETS has, however, been put into question due to a persistent oversupply of allowances (reflecting the regulators' uncertainty about firms' emission levels in the first trading period and a drop in emissions following the financial market and economic crisis in the second trading period). Numerous changes to the design of the EU ETS have been made in order to tackle this issue. The project SAFE aims at contributing to the research on the functioning and effectiveness of emissions trading schemes. It analyses whether the EU ETS despite a considerable surplus of allowances and low prices spurred abatement activities of the covered firms and whether firms have perceived changes in the incentives provided by the scheme over time. Moreover, it analyses how firms engaged in allowance trading and if their trading behaviour changed since the start of the EU ETS. To answer these questions, a case study for Austria is conducted in which an analysis of data on allocations, verified emissions and trading flows from the EUTL is combined with a survey among firms covered by the EU ETS.