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Each stack at each regulated facility had been given a discharge permit.The EPA innovation allowed firms to trade those permits internally and externally, so that expensive-to-control sources could emit more and cheap-to-control sources would be encouraged to cut back. To control acid rain, Title IV of the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act established tradable emission allowances for sulfur dioxide.
Many European countries have also implemented economic instruments such as taxes on fertilizer, gasoline, and other polluting inputs.
For example, Germany, France, and the Netherlands have effluent charge systems.
Many in the public interest community oppose economic instruments because they fear that emissions trading cannot be adequately enforced.
Some think that market-based approaches provide excuses for polluters to avoid responsibility A lesson from this brief history is that market-based instruments have been applied gradually and cautiously in the most mature environmental protection regime, the United States.
Utility companies are pleased that they, rather than the government, decide the most cost-effective way to comply.
Although much is made of the success of this program, the reality is that most U. environmental programs continue to use traditional regulation because the alternatives pose significant technical and political challenges.
A variation of this system was eventually written into law to create the best-known and most successful U. Starting in January 1995, the electric power industry in the eastern third of the nation was allocated a fixed number of total “allowances.” The rules allowed firms to bank allowances for future use, buy allowances to meet regulatory requirements rather than reduce emissions, or sell excess allowances.
Rigorous checks and balances built into the program ensure compliance, system credibility, and integrity.
Most developing countries have long since established laws and formal governmental structures to address their serious environmental problems, but few have been successful in alleviating those problems.
The development banks, which control resources desperately needed by the developing countries, are promoting the use of economic incentives and other market-based strategies as the key to more effective environmental protection.