Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Werner Scholtz and Jonathan Verschuuren
Chapter 12: EU climate change law: a credible example?
To affirm that the EU is a (self-proclaimed) leader on climate policy is by now commonplace. Judging from the evolution of climate change policy over the years, it appears that the Union has taken climate change as one of its defining political goals, one that goes to the heart of its identity and which enables it to promote its values throughout the world. Much has been written on the question of whether the Union is really a leader on climate action, the nature of its leadership, the motivations underlining it, and its effects in the international climate change negotiations. At the same time, not too much has been said about the credibility of its leadership, and certainly not enough from a legal perspective. And yet, this is arguably what matters at a point in time where global action on climate change is widespread and many states have accepted both the importance of addressing climate change and the need to adopt mitigation targets. In this context, the credibility of states – essentially understood as the capacity to deliver on their commitments – is increasingly relevant. This chapter seeks to adopt this starting point to discuss, from a legal perspective, the credibility of EU climate change law as a necessary prerequisite to exercising leadership.
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