An intermolecular Pd/PPh3-catalyzed transesterification of diallyl carbonate with glycerol to generate glycerol carbonate has been developed. Analysis of the reaction kinetics in THF indicates a first-order dependence on Pd and diallyl carbonate, that the Pd bears two phosphines during the turnover limiting event, and that increasing the glycerol concentration inhibits reaction, possibly via change in the polarity of the medium. 13C isotopic labeling studies demonstrate that the Pd-catalyzed transesterification requires at least one allyl carbonate moiety and that there is rapid equilibrium of the allyl carbonate with CO2 in solution, even when present only at low concentrations. A mechanism that is consistent with these results involves oxidative addition of the allyl carbonate to Pd followed by reversible decarboxylation, with the intermediate ?1- and ?3-allyl Pd alkoxides mediating direct and indirect transesterification reactions with the glycerol. Using this model, successful simulations of the kinetics of reactions conducted under atmospheres of N2 or CO2 could be achieved, including switching in selectivity between etherification and transesterification in the early stages of reaction. Reactions with the higher polyols threitol and erythritol are also efficient, generating the terminal (1,2) monocarbonates with high selectivity.