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Category Archives: Environment

The politics of (bad) policy design: French solar panels and Northern Irish boilers

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As one previous post on this blog detailed, the current political turmoil in Northern Ireland was sparked by a subsidy for renewable energy production.  Though it is tempting to blame political carelessness, the ongoing RHI scandal prompts a broader reflection about renewable energy policy instruments. Incentives akin to the RHI are relatively common in renewable […]

Too hot to handle? The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme & the Northern Irish meltdown

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Since December, Northern Ireland has been bogged down in a major scandal on an apparently simple policy instrument – the renewable heat incentive scheme. The scheme, closed in early 2016, was set up in 2012 to encourage renewable heat uptake. Since then, it has generated a massive overspend (more than £1bn UK public money, £600 […]

Nature Directives ‘Fit for Purpose’: a turning point for EU policy dismantling?

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The 28 EU Commissioners met today to decide the fate of the EU’s Nature Directives (the 1979 Birds Directive and 1992 Habitats Directive). Would these two directives, the cornerstone of EU biodiversity legislation, be deemed ‘fit for purpose’ or would they be revised and potentially weakened? After years of internal debates within the European Commission, […]

Lessons from European Climate Monitoring Crucial for Paris Agreement Success

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As the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech draws to a close, it is becoming increasingly clear that credible monitoring and transparency procedures are urgently needed. Otherwise national pledges to address climate change in the spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement will not build sufficient global trust. The 2015 […]

Heathrow expansion in the shadow of Brexit

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After decades of debate on where – and whether – to expand airport capacity in south-eastern England, the UK government announced two days ago that it would favour building a third runway at Heathrow Airport. This option, highly criticised on environmental grounds (notably due to the air pollution caused by road transport to the airport) […]

Can European policies be dismantled?

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A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 42 per cent of Europeans were keen for some ‘powers’ to be returned to the national level, with only 19 per cent favouring further centralisation at EU level. The idea of ‘less Europe’ is not new: calls for it date back to the great subsidiarity debate of […]

What a difference a vote makes? Second guessing British-EU environmental policy interactions after Brexit.

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Since Britain voted to leave the EU are we any wiser what it all means? Uncertainty seems the safest prediction for now. Yet given that Britain has played an important role in EU environmental policy, we need to try to make some sense of it. Towards a more German style EU environmental policy? In the […]

Where are the frontiers of climate governance data?

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The Paris Agreement opens a whole new chapter in the history of climate change governance, which will also require a paradigm shift in research. What are the main challenges in bringing about this shift? A remarkable feature of the 2015 Paris Agreement is that it allows countries to draw on a vast array of governance […]

Is the EU as green as it used to be?

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With the referendum on UK EU membership fast approaching, both the Leave and Remain campaigns have put forward their views on the future of environmental policy in the UK and its relationship with the EU. This political debate raises a number of questions:  how green is the European Union; how effective or in some cases […]

Was hat der Klimawandel mit Flüchtlingen zu tun?

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Die Flüchtlingskrise ist in Deutschland spätestens seit September 2015 in aller Munde. In der öffentlichen Debatte werden Flüchtlinge dabei meist mit außen- und innenpolitischen Sicherheitsfragen in Verbindung gebracht. Diskutiert wird dabei zum Beispiel unter welchen Umständen Flüchtlinge wieder in ihre Heimat zurückkehren können oder was große Migrationszahlen für die innere Sicherheit in Deutschland bedeuten. In […]

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