An Economic Analysis
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 8: Summary and Conclusions
THE CHALLENGE OF THE EUROPEAN CLIMATE POLICY The last decades have experienced an increasing awareness about global warming, its causes and potential consequences. In light of the problematic trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, mitigating climate change without preventing economy from growing has become one of the most significant issues on the European political agenda. With the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the former EU-15 MS first committed to reduce 8 per cent of emissions below the level of 1990 by 2012. In 2007, the EC expressed its firm intention to enforce emissions reduction climate policies even beyond the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. At the end of 2008, the European Climate Package, which imposes a unilateral 20 per cent emissions cut below the 1990 emissions level by 2020, was finally approved. The real challenge of the European climate policy is not so much to reduce the European emissions. Such a goal could be easily achieved by lowering the European levels of production and consumption, but this would constitute a failure of the European climate policy, rather than a success, since it would be characterized by an increase in unemployment rates and by a worsening of the European welfare. The real challenge is to promote a gradual shift toward a low-carbon economy in which emissions can be reduced without compromising European economic growth and well-being. This sustainable scenario needs to be supported by the innovation and introduction of technologies that are simultaneously efficient and environmentally friendly. 2. THE POLITICAL...
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