The Enforcement Challenge of Cap-and-Trade Regulation

36 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2010 Last revised: 7 Mar 2011

See all articles by Lesley K. McAllister

Lesley K. McAllister

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: March 3, 2011


The enforcement of a cap-and-trade program requires that the government know the mass emissions of all capped facilities, the whole quantity of their emissions over a given compliance period. An economy-wide cap and trade program addressing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States of the type proposed in the American Clean Energy and Security Act would bring with it formidable monitoring and enforcement challenges. This paper explains why accurate emissions data is so important to the success of a cap-and-trade program; discusses the methods available to obtain accurate emissions under a self-monitoring and reporting framework and recommends a cooperative federalism model of enforcement in which significant roles are played by the federal government, state government, citizen groups, and potentially third-party verification entities.

Keywords: cap and trade regulation, greenhouse gases, enforcement, offsets, self-monitoring, self-reporting, cooperative federalism, citizen enforcement

JEL Classification: K23, K32

Suggested Citation

McAllister, Lesley K., The Enforcement Challenge of Cap-and-Trade Regulation (March 3, 2011). Environmental Law, Vol. 40, p. 1195, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Lesley K. McAllister (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Dr
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics