Creating the UK emission trading scheme: Motives and symbolic politics

Mike Nye, Susan Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the business-led advocacy of the UK emission trading scheme with special focus on the symbolic benefits of emission trading for the business community. It traces the development of the UK Emissions Trading Group and links the group's preferences for emission trading to socio-economic, operational and legislative contexts. The analysis reveals that, although business originally supported emission trading as an alternative to taxation, more socio-symbolic motives shaped business interest in emission trading after announcement of the Climate Change Levy. This suggests that 'symbolic politics' can drive industry support for economic instruments such as emission trading, even when the economic rationale for doing so is diminished or constrained by existing policy frameworks or wider socio-economic contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Cite this