Key Actors in International Climate Cooperation
New Horizons in Environmental Politics series
Edited by Guri Bang, Arild Underdal and Steinar Andresen
Chapter 4: EU climate and energy policy: demanded or supplied?
Since the 1990s, the European Union has sought a leadership-by-example role in international climate negotiations. How has it managed to get a relatively ambitious climate policy accepted by 28 member states with widely differing energy economic situations? Energy security concerns spur a need for energy efficiency and higher energy production, but member state views differ regarding how shifting to a low-carbon economy will promote energy security. The institutional setting provided an enabling context, stimulating consensus-seeking and long-term policy development. Because EU policies were adopted by consensus from 2007, explanations for change focus on how climate and energy policies and issues were combined in new ways that enabled cost sharing, promoted new low-carbon opportunities and gave something to all major ‘veto players’. The linkage between climate and energy policies has mainly been policy supply–driven, but broad support for EU-level climate policies has been important for legitimizing the decisions taken. The EU’s new 2030 climate and energy policy framework represents a policy ‘re-packing’ compromise to satisfy the main veto players, with substantial concessions to Poland and other CEECs. Whether new policies can put the member states collectively on the path towards a low-emission economy, however, will depend on new legislation as yet to be adopted and implemented.
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