European Union's energy goals for 2020, inclusion of aviation in EU ETS since 2012 and the important increase of CO2 emissions in Southern Mediterranean countries, all justify to pay careful attention to the challenges of the carbon constraint at the Euro-Mediterranean scale. The notion of "carbon constraint" stems from the application of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and from the Kyoto Protocol that resulted in the implementation of the EU ETS in European Union countries. Contrary to European countries that committed to emissions reductions goals ("Annex I countries" of UNFCCC and "Annex B countries" of Kyoto Protocol), Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMC), like other emergent countries, apply the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" that exempt them from adopting any binding emission reductions goals. The extension of the EU ETS, with the auctioning of emission credits as of 2013, and the evolution, even though difficult, of international climate negotiations might nevertheless modify the situation of unbalanced commitments that prevails between Northern countries and Southern countries (section 1). Moreover, if the carbon constraint for European countries remains today soft, it might on a short or medium term generate several economic and social impacts, and potentially on the regional trade (section 2). Several green initiatives undertaken on the Southern shore to develop environmental policies and new carbon market mechanisms have to be supported so as to limit these negative impacts and to implement a virtuous regional momentum (section 3).


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