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Category Archives: Global & International

Climate Policy after the Crisis: From Environment to Energy

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The combined effects of the financial and economic crisis starting in 2008 and the fiasco of the 2009 Copenhagen climate negotiation have led to a gradual re-framing of climate change from an environmental to an energy issue. As I detail below, this re-framing has happened in subtle, and not-so-subtle ways, from changes in political rhetoric […]

Road to Paris: Time for UK to show leadership on climate change

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The next twelve months will be critical in shaping the European Union’s position on climate change, ahead of the all-important UN climate negotiations which start next November in Paris. But will the UK be a help or a hindrance to delivering ambitious action on climate change? At the UN Climate Summit in New York this […]

Worldwide Carbon Emissions Set for Record Levels in 2014 – Can the EU Step up its Leadership in New York and beyond?

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Recent data from the Global Carbon Project show that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions—the main driver of climate change—are set to reach a record-breaking 40 billion tones in 2014, led by a 2.5% rise in fossil fuel burning. In order to maintain a 66% chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees—a widely accepted safety threshold—global […]

Dependence on Russian Energy and Eurosceptic MEPs: A Wicked Problem or a Joint Solution?

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 Events in the first half of 2014 are likely to present somewhat of a headache to those working in Europe’s climate and energy sector, but they could also provide a solution. Much of Europe is addicted to Russian energy imports, impinging the continent’s ability to isolate Russia as a result of its recent engagement with […]

Why the UK needs the EU (and vice versa)

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Making the case that the United Kingdom (UK) needs the European Union (EU) and vice versa is at the forefront of current electoral debates in the UK. During a passionate electoral hustings event at the University of East Anglia last night, candidates clashed over visions for a federal European Union (Andrew Duff, MEP, Lib Dem), […]

Can Canada Save Europe from Energy Dependency on Russia?

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A press conference between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 27th 2014 provoked the latest round of commentary on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports ‘rescuing’ the EU and Ukraine from Russian energy dominance. Russia supplies 30% of the EU’s gas imports and 35% of its oil and in Germany […]

Does the European Commission’s Climate Change Department Make a Difference?

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In my earlier blog post last week,[1] I argued that the creation of DG Clima—the European Commission’s climate change department—was a conscious political choice by Commission President Barroso in 2009. At the time, commentators and policy-makers disagreed on the potential impact of DG Clima on climate policy: some, such as Professor Reinhilde Veugelers from the […]

How connected are European climate think tanks?

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There is a growing worldwide network of think tanks and research institutes which aim to provide policy-relevant climate change-related research. For example, the International Center for Climate Governance’s fascinating database of climate change think tanks currently lists 294 organizations who are “…conducting research in the field of climate change economics and policy.” Drawing on this dataset, I wanted to […]

What to expect from Germany’s new government for energy and climate policy in the EU?

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Germany’s new government under Angela Merkel (her third term) was sworn in on 17 December 2013. While some faces will be familiar, much has changed as Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) entered a ‘grand coalition’ with the Social Democrats (SPD) after voters ousted her last coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), from parliament. But what […]

Environmental Europe: A Success Story?

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Forty years on, the EU environmental policy is a much-publicised success of European integration[1]. After a slow start in the 1970s to tackle trans-boundary environmental issues and level the playing field for European businesses, EU environmental policies now cover water, air or noise pollution; habitat and biodiversity preservation; sustainable production and consumption and the fight […]

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