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The rise of climate change on the European Union agenda: 1988-2011

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Figure 1. Council Attention to the Environment, By Subtopic, 1975-2012 (1,679 Total Mentions). Source: Alexandrova et al. 2014.

When the European Council – the institution that sets the European Union’s agenda on broad, strategic issues[1] – published its Declaration on the Environment on December 3, 1988, climate change was mentioned briefly and in passing.[2] In 2009, the year of the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, the topic’s salience had risen dramatically. In […]

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 […]

Is the EU’s commitment to the 2°C target unravelling?

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‘2°C is an objective,’ EU Climate and Energy Commissioner  Miguel Arias Cañete said in February 2015, when questioned over the status of the widely recognised target for preventing ‘dangerous’ global warming[1] at this December’s Paris UN climate conference. ‘If we have an ongoing process you cannot say it is a failure if the mitigation commitments […]

Policy Entrepreneurs: Key Players in Bottom-up Climate Policy

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As the top-down, United-Nations driven target setting approach to international climate through the Kyoto Protocol approach has increasingly been called into question, many have begun to highlight the advantage of bottom-up approaches. Whereas the top-down approach is analogous to divvying up a pie among different countries, the bottom-up approach means that each country contributes some […]

German Environmental Science-Policy Interactions – Greening Policies, but on a Par with Economic Competitors?

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The use of knowledge has become increasingly important in policy-making for tackling important societal challenges such as climate change. As a result, the role of scientific evidence has grown as well. Particularly, the role of environmentally-related scientific knowledge has becomes more important. A significant example of this development is the 2011 100% Renewables Report of […]

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