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Category Archives: Environment

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 […]

Does Local Climate Information Stimulate Action?

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A popular saying goes that ‘all politics is local’. While public debate on climate change often focuses on international summits and the political drama of negotiations, the real steps to address climate change will be have to be implemented at a much more local scale. Ultimately, the way we lead our lives – how we […]

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 […]

Empowering the European Parliament: a greener, more European way out of the European crises?

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Of the four main European Institutions,[1] the European Parliament (EP) has most struggled to be heard on the recent crises affecting Europe (monetary, economic, social, environmental…).[2] At a time when the European project is at great risk, and when European leaders struggle to define a common European interest, it is perhaps time to turn to […]

Ten Years after the French and Dutch ‘No’: How the Two Countries Reinvented their Relationship with Europe

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Ten years ago today, the French voted down the European Constitution Treaty, which was supposed to replace existing EU Treaties and institute key changes such as the appointment of a EU foreign minister. This was followed by an even stronger ‘No’ in the Netherlands three days later. These ‘No’ votes succeeded where the Danish 1992 […]

Can we experiment our way out of climate change?

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As the climate continues to change at alarming rates, many have lost faith in traditional international approaches to address the issue. As a result, climate policy innovation and associated experimentation are en vogue.[1] The thinking goes that if old approaches are perceived to be failing, we need new and innovative ones. The hope is that […]

An Existential Crisis? The European Union, Austerity and Paris 2015

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Since 2010, the European responses to the global financial and economic crises have been dominated by a narrative of austerity. European governments have sought to bolster confidence in their economies by rolling back public spending. Austerity may pose an existential crisis for the European Union (EU), both regarding austerity-hit states being forced to leave the […]

Theoretical Theatre: An innovative teaching method for EU Studies

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The European Union has an image problem. The “permissive consensus”[1] (aka non-informed consent) that supported European integration up to the early 1990s is long gone, and the image of “the European construction” as a guarantee of peace is no longer sufficient. Even the last European Commission thought a “new narrative for Europe” was required. Of […]

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