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Tag Archives: climate change

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 […]

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 […]

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 Change Skepticism in the UK Independence Party

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On 6 May 2005, the day after the UK general election, the Euroskeptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) had much to be concerned about. Despite fielding 558 national candidates, UKIP had no seats in the UK Parliament and had won only nine seats on local councils. Ten years later, things have changed. UKIP currently holds 370 […]

On the Road to Paris and Beyond: What Role for Political Parties?

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As governments gear up for the international climate change Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December 2015, this post considers the role of political parties in climate politics. As the locus and focus of much modern-day political debate, parties arguably play a key role in shaping political conversations and actions on climate change. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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), […]

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