Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Energy & Climate Change

Climate change – a tale of economic growth

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The photo of Australians sticking their heads in the sand to protest against Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s lack of commitment to climate change came just a few days after the US and China agreed to reduce their emissions and start tackling climate change. The USA has promised to reduce its emissions by 26%-28% below its […]

Germany getting ahead with green petrol

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A recent article by Daniel Wetzel published in Die Welt newspaper on 12th November 2014 entitled: “Vom Klimakiller zum Kraftstoff”, which translates as “From climate killer to fuel”, describes the progress made by German industry to develope an environmentally friendly synthetic fuel, which can be put in the fuel tank of a motor vehicle. See […]

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 […]

Road to Paris: Time for UK to show leadership on climate change

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The next twelve months will be critical in shaping the European Union’s position on climate change, ahead of the all-important UN climate negotiations which start next November in Paris. But will the UK be a help or a hindrance to delivering ambitious action on climate change? At the UN Climate Summit in New York this […]

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 […]

Could the UK Green Investment Bank become a victim of its own success?

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In 2008, with the passing of the Climate Change Act, the UK government set the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% of the 1990 baseline by 2050. The setting of this target, coupled with targets set at the European level, furthered the need for new, innovative approaches to the reduction of CO2 emissions that […]

A new economic miracle for Europe built on renewable energy

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The common threat to the economic prosperity of every member state of the European Union is a breakdown in energy supply, because we have to rely on fossil fuels in the form of oil and gas imported from regions of the world where there are wars and human rights abuses. An even greater threat – […]

What can we learn from the history of the Wirtschaftswunder?

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The recovery of Germany after the Second World War is often referred to as the Wirtschaftswunder or economic miracle. The rebuilding of Germany was not just a matter of rebuilding the towns and cities that had been devastated during the war, but also the rebuilding of the country’s economy as well as its reputation after […]

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 […]

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