Linking EU Climate and Energy Policies

Linking EU Climate and Energy Policies

Decision-making, Implementation and Reform

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Jon Birger Skjærseth, Per Ove Eikeland, Lars H. Gulbrandsen and Torbjørg Jevnaker

Based on an innovative theoretical framework combining theories of EU policy making, negotiation and implementation, this comprehensive book examines EU climate and energy policies from the early 1990s until the adoption of new policies for 2030. The authors investigate how the linking of climate and energy concerns in policy packages has facilitated agreement among EU leaders with very different policy ambitions. Employing in-depth studies from a diverse range of energy-economic countries, the book also explores the impact of the implementation of policies on the climate and energy policy framework and the Energy Union initiative.

Chapter 8: Implementation in the Netherlands

Lars H. Gulbrandsen and Jon Birger Skjærseth

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


This chapter examines the Netherlands’ implementation of the EU climate- and energy-policy package to attain 2020 goals: the extent to which and how these policies have been implemented to date, why and with what consequences for Dutch positions on new EU climate policies. The Netherlands is one of the EU’s most fossil-fuel-dependent member-states, with over 90 per cent of its energy mix based on fossil fuels. The authors find that the EU climate and energy package has provided greater stability for Dutch climate and energy policies, establishing both short-term and longer-term targets. However, the Dutch renewables sector has developed slowly, and the Netherlands is lagging considerably behind its EU targets as well as with the pace of renewables deployment in neighbouring countries. Domestic politics proves important in explaining implementation problems: shifting government coalitions with changing priorities; strong industrial interests in maintaining energy affordability; a consensual Dutch policy style that promotes incremental, stepwise changes rather than large-scale industrial and societal transformation; and local opposition to CCS and on-shore windpower development. Mixed experiences with implementation have made the Netherlands prefer a re-packing compromise for 2030 based on a single climate target and the EU ETS.

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