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Carbon Markets: Examining EU Policies for Transnational Climate Action

Explore the current policies being created by the EU and assess their efficacy in promoting global climate action.

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Understand and evaluate the steps taken to create a climate policy framework

As the impact of climate change continues to affect our planet, it’s imperative that our global community fights to reduce their emissions and live sustainably.

However, many transnational corporations and states have not made a change to reduce their negative impact on the planet.

On this five-week course from the European University Institute (EUI), you’ll assess the EU’s efforts in creating climate policy instruments that enforce global action.

Discover the benefits and challenges of carbon tax and other policy instruments

Climate policy instruments are multifaceted and possess inherent advantages and disadvantages.

You will understand and discuss the different policy instruments created by the EU, such as carbon tax, cap-and-trade, and more. Aided by the experts at the EUI, you’ll be able to critically evaluate each policy’s benefits and challenges.

Apply the EU’s carbon market approach to diverse economies and contexts

Creating climate policy instruments that can benefit and motivate various countries and international economies can prove challenging.

On this course, you’ll apply the EU’s carbon market instruments to other policy contexts and governance levels. Through this exercise, you’ll be able to examine their efficacy in transnational markets.

Define the measures needed to accelerate global climate action with EUI

Sustainability measures are crucial to slowing the progress of climate change, and it’s imperative to set attainable and trackable procedures.

This course is developed and led by experts in the field of international climate policy. With their guidance, you’ll be empowered to identify what steps are needed to ensure global climate action that can change the world.

This course is also available in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese.


  • Week 1

    A Multilateral Approach to Climate Policy and the Many Instruments of the EU

    • Course Overview

      What to expect.

    • International Climate Policy

      Get an overview of how the international climate governance regime has evolved and the commitments made by various countries, with a focus on the EU.

    • EU Climate Strategies and Targets

      Get an overview of the targets and ambition set at the EU level to meet its international climate commitments and to reach the goal of “climate neutrality” by the year 2050.

    • EU Climate Policy Instruments

      Get an overview of the instruments the EU has introduced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, how they work and what has been achieved so far.

    • The Effort Sharing Mechanism

      The Effort Sharing Mechanism is a fundamental EU climate policy framework to ensure the just and fair contribution of each EU Member State to the EU climate action. Get more details about how this mechanism works.

    • G20 Spotlight

      Get insights from Saudi Arabia’s Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) scheme.

    • Final Test and Further Resources

      Expand and test your knowledge.

  • Week 2

    The EU Emissions Trading System

    • Introduction

      What to expect this week.

    • Introduction to the ETS

      The EU’s carbon market is the first and biggest worldwide. Get a detailed overview of the establishment and design of the EU ETS.

    • The Functioning of the ETS

      Get a detailed overview of how the ETS works and how it has evolved over time.

    • Voluntary Carbon Markets

      Get an overview of what Voluntary Carbon Markets are and how they function.

    • Spotlight on G20

      Get insights from Mexico’s experience of setting up an Emissions Trading System (ETS).

    • Final Test and Further Resources

      Expand and test your knowledge.

  • Week 3

    Carbon Pricing and the EU Transport Sector

    • Introduction

      What to expect this week.

    • Road Transport Sector

      Get an overview of the EU’s key policy instruments to reduce road transport emissions.

    • Aviation and Shipping Sectors

      Get an overview of the EU legislative framework in the aviation sector and of the current and future EU- in comparison with the international-and legislative framework in the shipping sector.

    • Spotlight on G20

      Get insights from Argentina’s experience of applying carbon tax on liquid fuels across different sectors.

    • Final Test and Further Resources

      Expand and test your knowledge.

  • Week 4

    Carbon Pricing and the Energy Sector

    • Introduction

      What to expect.

    • Renewables

      In the following video Christian Egenhofer introduces the growing renewable energy share in the EU and the drivers of falling technology costs of renewable energy technologies.

    • Energy Efficiency

      Get an overview of the key energy efficiency policy instruments in the EU.

    • Spotlight on G20

      Get insights from India’s and Brazil’s attempts to decarbonize their energy sectors.

    • Final Test and Further Resources

      Expand and test your knowledge.

  • Week 5

    Financing the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

    • Introduction

      What to expect this week.

    • Why do we need sustainable finance?

      Get an overview of what sustainable finance is and its importance in climate action and an overview of the different sustainable finance instruments introduced by the EU.

    • What's next in sustainable finance?

      Get a concise summary of the challenges associated with sustainable finance and related financial activities.

    • Spotlight on G20

      Get insights from South Africa’s and Indonesia’s efforts to finance their transition to a low-carbon economy.

    • Final Test and Further Resources

      Expand and test your knowledge.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the main elements of the International Climate Agreements
  • Describe the main elements of these international agreements and policies that were developed in response by the EU and other countries
  • Identify the most important features of the Paris Agreement, and its strength and weaknesses
  • Identify the different EU climate policy instruments as well as the lessons learnt from the EU climate policy-making experience
  • Evaluate the importance of applying a price to carbon emissions and give a summary of the main elements of the design of the Emissions Trading System
  • Explain why the EU ETS has been designed this way
  • Describe the scope of this instruments and the emerging issues, especially regarding the counties outside the EU
  • Report CO2 targets and average emissions from transport (road, aviation and shipping)
  • Evaluate the key policy instruments at EU level to reduce emissions in the road transport sector
  • Describe an overview of current and future EU and international legislation in aviation and shipping
  • Describe the main elements of the EU’s energy policy
  • Identify the main challenges and opportunities of increased renewable energy production and consumption
  • Describe the various benefits of energy efficiency measures for the EU
  • Describe the main characteristics of low carbon investments
  • Summarise EU financial instruments for the transition to a low carbon economy
  • Identify the main de-risking instruments for attracting private finance for low-carbon investments
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of voluntary carbon markets

Who is the course for?

This course is ideal for policy-makers or practitioners working in the area of climate governance and carbon markets, and will be suitable for newcomers to the field.

Who developed the course?

European University Institute (EUI)

We are the European University Institute (EUI), the leading institute in Europe dedicated to social sciences and humanities. Founded in 1972 by the six original members of the then European Communities, the EUI has earned a reputation as a transnational hub of research and higher learning.


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