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Tag Archives: European Commission

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 […]

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 […]

How would a ‘clustered’ European Commission impact EU environmental policy?

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Every five years the European Union changes the composition of its Commission. While this year’s discussions have mostly focused on who will be appointed to the Commission, two other issues, repeatedly pushed for by the Netherlands and France, loom large on the political agenda: the Commission’s political programme, and the need to  restructure the Commission [1]. […]

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 […]

The Politics of the Rise of DG Climate Action

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In 2009, Commission President Barroso created a new Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG Clima) in the European Commission (EC). This decision was a deliberate political choice following considerable controversy at the time. With European Elections around the corner, and now 28 Commissioners, we may yet again see a re-shuffle of Commission departments. When debating the […]

Unchaining EU climate policy: quarrels over EU decision-making likely to continue

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Earlier this year, the European Commission started to work on a new EU energy and climate change package, which will define European climate initiatives until 2030[1]. Whatever the EU plans to do at home will influence its negotiating position at the international negotiations in Paris in 2015 (COP21), where the international community seeks to hammer […]

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