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Category Archives: Energy & Climate Change

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]. […]

EU Stakeholders Divided over Reforming the EU Emissions Trading System

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The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is currently the world’s largest market-based policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Operating since 2005, the EU ETS sets a steadily-decreasing cap on the greenhouse gases that installations can emit in 31 countries.[1] “Emission allowances”, tradable permits to emit one ton of greenhouse gases[2], are allocated for […]

What has the EU ever done for the UK environment?

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In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Reg, a character played by John Cleese, famously asks what the Romans have ever done for the people of Judaea. That no one had asked this question before may have been because Roman rule had become taken for granted. But after a moment’s reflection, his fellow freedom fighters quickly […]

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 […]

The European Parliament: An Environmental Champion Now and in the Future?

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If you care about climate change and the environment, you may find yourself wondering who will champion environmental issues in the EU after the upcoming elections in May. So far, the European Parliament (EP) has often been perceived as the EU’s ‘Green Champion’, i.e. its greenest institution. In this blog post, we shed some light […]

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 […]

Lack of Appetite for Climate Policy in Westminster Leaves Doors Open to Other Actors

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When assessing EU member states’ commitments to climate policy, the UK has long stood out as something of a paradox.[1] On one hand, since the rise in political saliency of climate change in the early 1990s, Britain has done much to assert itself as a leader in climate politics. It has often been at the […]

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