Ideas on Europe

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Category Archives: Environment

The politics of (bad) policy design: French solar panels and Northern Irish boilers

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As one previous post on this blog detailed, the current political turmoil in Northern Ireland was sparked by a subsidy for renewable energy production.  Though it is tempting to blame political carelessness, the ongoing RHI scandal prompts a broader reflection about renewable energy policy instruments. Incentives akin to the RHI are relatively common in renewable […]

Water, Agriculture and Renewable Energy

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How could we save Europe, help refugees and fight climate change at the same time? It would be hard to deny that the refugee crisis – caused by wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan – has put a terrible strain on Europe, as millions of people from these war torn regions have sought refuge within […]

Too hot to handle? The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme & the Northern Irish meltdown

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Since December, Northern Ireland has been bogged down in a major scandal on an apparently simple policy instrument – the renewable heat incentive scheme. The scheme, closed in early 2016, was set up in 2012 to encourage renewable heat uptake. Since then, it has generated a massive overspend (more than £1bn UK public money, £600 […]

Nature Directives ‘Fit for Purpose’: a turning point for EU policy dismantling?

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The 28 EU Commissioners met today to decide the fate of the EU’s Nature Directives (the 1979 Birds Directive and 1992 Habitats Directive). Would these two directives, the cornerstone of EU biodiversity legislation, be deemed ‘fit for purpose’ or would they be revised and potentially weakened? After years of internal debates within the European Commission, […]

Major cities as climate leaders cannot solve the gridlocked traffic alone

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Air pollution and gridlocked traffic is part of the daily life for many people living or working in major cities around the world. Unsurprisingly, cities around the world have increasingly taken drastic measures to reduce both pollution and traffic. Many of these climate initiatives are miles ahead of national governments. The latest initiatives by four […]

Lessons from European Climate Monitoring Crucial for Paris Agreement Success

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As the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech draws to a close, it is becoming increasingly clear that credible monitoring and transparency procedures are urgently needed. Otherwise national pledges to address climate change in the spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement will not build sufficient global trust. The 2015 […]

Heathrow expansion in the shadow of Brexit

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After decades of debate on where – and whether – to expand airport capacity in south-eastern England, the UK government announced two days ago that it would favour building a third runway at Heathrow Airport. This option, highly criticised on environmental grounds (notably due to the air pollution caused by road transport to the airport) […]

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