Table of Contents

Europe and Global Climate Change

Europe and Global Climate Change

Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation

Edited by Paul G. Harris

The core objective of this book is to better understand the role of foreign policy – the crossovers and interactions between domestic and international politics and policies – in efforts to preserve the environment and natural resources. Underlying this objective is the belief that it is not enough to analyze domestic or international political actors, institutions and processes by themselves. We need to understand the interactions among them, something that explicit thought about foreign policy can help us do.

Chapter 11: Climate Policy in the EU: International Regimes and Policy Diffusion

Sebastian Oberthür and Dennis Tänzler

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


Sebastian Oberthür and Dennis Tänzler INTRODUCTION Climate policies in the European Union (EU) have evolved considerably since the 1990s. Significant progress has been made both in individual EU member states and at the EU level. EU member states have introduced or strengthened a wide variety of policy instruments on global climate change (GCC), including energy taxes, insulation standards for new and existing buildings, emissions trading schemes, support for an enhanced use of renewable sources of energy and combined heat and power production, voluntary agreements with industry, and more. The policy mix is constantly evolving.1 At the EU level, some of the core GCC policy instruments include voluntary agreements starting in the late 1990s with European, Korean and Japanese car manufacturers on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars, the EU Landfill Directive of 1999, the EU Renewable Energy Directive of 2001 and the EU Emissions Trading Directive of 2003. Further measures, such as proposals for regulating certain fluorinated gases or for promoting bio-fuels, are under development within the framework of the European Climate Change Program, which was established by the European Commission in 2000 (see European Commission 2003, 2004; EEA 2005: 32–41). In this chapter, we examine the forces driving the diffusion of three particular GCC policy instruments in the EU that, together, provide an important underpinning for the EU’s environmental foreign policy (EFP), namely GCC policy plans and strategies, emissions trading, and CO2/energy taxes up to February 2005, when the 1997 Kyoto Protocol...

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