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Recently many regions worldwide have implemented emissions trading systems (ETSs) to cap greenhouse gas emissions. These initiatives may hold the potential of providing a new bottom-up architecture for international climate policy. Cooperation or ‘linkage’ between regional emissions trading systems would improve their efficiency. Yet, linking has been realized only on very few occasions.
This article deals with the question why linking of ETSs, especially between the EU and California, is still lagging behind. It seeks to go beyond common approaches and focuses on political difficulties that arise for regions that do not have the status and the mandate of a nation state.