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Category Archives: Current Affairs

A surprising deal? Cameron’s ‘reformed EU’ & the environment

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When the European Council finally drew to a close on February 19, 2016, the deal to help secure the UK’s continued membership in the European Union (called the ‘Anti-Brexit’ deal in continental newspapers) was finally agreed. After years of discussions and months of negotiations, there was a deal, publically available. This document provides insight into […]

EU facilitates Paris Agreement, but economic concerns linger

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In April 2015, we wrote a post for this series about the then forthcoming Paris climate talks. We noted how the new Juncker European Commission appeared to give a lower priority to climate change and was emphasising economic growth over other concerns, such as the environment. The post asked whether austerity would influence the EU’s […]

The Volkswagen Scandal: What could the short-term impact be on EU policy?

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The last few weeks have certainly been turbulent for Volkswagen (VW). It was discovered at the end of September 2015 that the company had manipulated tests for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from its cars so that these appeared to be lower than they actually were. This discovery ultimately led to the resignation of VW’s CEO […]

Coherent Policy More Important Than Ever: The Paris Summit and Climate Policy Integration

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A quick glance at the many issues on the table of the international climate negotiations points to the myriad facets of our everyday lives that are intertwined with the climate change problem. Whether it is how we produce our food, our energy, our means of transport, or how we manage financial flows, technology transfer or […]

Academics champion far-reaching reductions in flying

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More and more academics and institutions are discussing how to address climate change in their own activities. Our own institution, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has recently drafted a Travel Strategy, and an accompanying Working paper (‘Towards a Culture of Low-Carbon Research for the 21st Century’) to reduce our collective travel impact on […]

Now for the long term: evaluating climate policies from Paris to 2050

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With the Paris climate summit around the corner, and substantial research efforts to catalogue and understand an increasing number of climate policy initiatives, there is little doubt that much is already happening to address climate change.[1] But what does all this effort really amount to? And how will we know? One way to improve our […]

Europe’s one-foot-in-one-foot-out approach to CCS isn’t working

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Last week’s announcement from Drax (the energy company that owns and operates the largest power station in the UK) that it would no longer invest in Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) development at its Selby plant came as little surprise. The news joins a litany of other stumbling blocks that CCS has suffered on its […]

“On track” or “probably not enough”? EU climate policies in Juncker’s first State of the European Union address

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Last Wednesday, Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his first State of the European Union (SOTEU) address. This speech – the longest since Barroso started yearly SOTEU back in 2010 – is a key agenda-setting moment for the Commission President, providing the opportunity to set out a personal vision on the major issues facing the European Union today. […]

Exploring the Impacts of Austerity on Environmental Policy

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Following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 and initial attempts to stimulate the economy through increased government spending, austerity has become a dominant narrative in many developed nations. Government spending has been significantly reduced in a number of European countries, as part of efforts to reduce both public deficits and debts. After several years of such […]

How Well Does Bottom-Up Climate Governance Work?

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The failure of the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference marked a shift in international climate governance. As the system of agreeing international emissions reductions targets and then negotiating individual country contribution towards that target proved increasingly unworkable, there has been a drive towards a much more bottom-up form of climate governance. In preparation for the Paris […]

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