Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Environment

Climate change and war

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An art exhibition in Germany illustrated the tragic price of the migration crisis that is now effecting Europe. The theme of an art installation called Lampedusa 361 was about refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean, while trying to make the sea crossing from Africa to Europe. The installation which has been exhibited in Dresden […]

Is The Paris Agreement on Shaky Legs? How to Ensure Successful Implementation

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What is needed to make the Paris Agreement a success? This blog post focuses on one of the most central but underappreciated elements – the periodic reviews of progress.  States must of course make ambitious and credible contributions in the first place.  But if there is no system to ensure that they are monitored and […]

France 2017: Where have all the flowers gone?

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Over the last twelve months the Greens have had quite a few celebrations across Europe: Winfried Kretschmann was re-elected as minister-president of Baden-Württemberg in March 2016; in December Alexander von der Bellen succeeded in stopping the rise of the Austrian populists in the presidential elections, and in the Dutch general elections, Jesse Klaver quadrupled the […]

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, […]

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