Over the years industries have taken many steps to improve the environmental impact of their operations. However, there are still a number of persistent, non-local environmental problems, for which more flexible instruments such as emissions trading seem the best way to secure environmental targets while avoiding unreasonable intervention and/or excessively high costs.
At the request of the Dutch (petro)chemical branch organisations VNPI and VNCI and the environment ministry VROM, CE has reviewed the likely impact of these flexible instruments, as well as the thinking behind them, as an interim measure while traditional approaches prove ineffective with no alternatives yet available. What are the implications of the new thinking for the roles played by various actors? What strategies should be adopted in the transitional phase to meet the challenges ahead? How should flexibility be fought out in the European arena? Can pilot projects and communications efforts help illuminate these transitions and improve their effectiveness?