Is a Market Stability Reserve likely to improve the functioning of the EU ETS?
Evidence from a model comparison exercise
In January 2014 the European Commission proposed the introduction of a Market Stability Reserve (MSR) to improve the functioning of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). According to the European Commission, the MSR is designed to adjust the EU ETS to supply-demand imbalances and protect the system from unexpected and sudden demand shocks and by doing so, ensure an efficient abatement pathway for the long-term decarbonisation of the European economy (European Commission, 2014).
We explore what market and regulatory failures could inhibit the functioning of the EU ETS and result in deviations from the efficient abatement pathway. Different research teams explore the implications of potential market and regulatory failures and/or inefficient responses to incomplete or complex information. Simulation models show that each of these factors can result in deviations from the efficient abatement pathway, and that an MSR can restore some of the lost efficiency. In considering MSR designs, an Early Start MSR (2017) with the back-loaded allowances placed directly into the reserve is shown to improve the performance compared to an MSR implemented in 2021. Laboratory experiments with human subjects show the importance of the quantity trigger levels and point to the importance of review provisions for adjustments in the early 2020ss to ensure private banking requirements can be met.