Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Energy & Climate Change

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), […]

Biofuels in the EU: Illegitimacy of Normative Power Europe

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Climate change, environmental protection and sustainable development are areas in which the EU has emerged in recent years as a global leader. They have become integral parts of the EU’s normative dimension, one that the EU themselves have constantly tried to promote. Biofuels, a renewable energy source, has been part of the EU’s efforts in […]

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 […]

Evader’s choice: Why tighter environmental implementation rules drive legislative fatigue and policy dismantling

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EU environmental action programmes set the priorities for EU environmental policy. After the 5th programme (1992-2000), which focused on sustainability,[1] the 6th programme (2002-2012) stressed the need for better implementation and the better environmental policy integration in other policy areas.[2] Adopted in November 2013, the new 7th action programme (2013-2020) focuses once again on implementation.[3] […]

How connected are European climate think tanks?

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There is a growing worldwide network of think tanks and research institutes which aim to provide policy-relevant climate change-related research. For example, the International Center for Climate Governance’s fascinating database of climate change think tanks currently lists 294 organizations who are “…conducting research in the field of climate change economics and policy.” Drawing on this dataset, I wanted to […]

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