This chapter argues that, despite the EU’s relatively advanced ambitions, its climate policies have so far remained insufficient to ensure the EU achieves its 2050 objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80–95 percent from 1990 levels (amounting to ‘decarbonization’). We first provide an historical account that demonstrates that the evolution of EU climate policies as embedded in international climate policy has nevertheless seen important advances and changes in approach over the years since 1990. Especially, binding EU measures have grown in the 2000s, with attention to incentives increasing later on. We include most recent developments in 2014. These trends are then related back to a limited number of internal and external barriers and driving forces that help us understand the status and development of EU climate policy, including broader EU and international politics, climate policy integration into other policy fields, division of competence between the EU and its member states, and relations with international partners. Overall, these factors do not lead us to expect the EU would soon bring its policies fully in line with its decarbonization objective, but they do leave room for the emergence of windows of opportunity for further progress.
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