EU Environmental Legislation
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EU Environmental Legislation

Legal Perspectives on Regulatory Strategies

Edited by Marjan Peeters and Rosa Uylenburg

This thought-provoking book offers a cross-cutting debate on EU environmental legislation from a legal perspective focussing on key themes such as regulatory instrument choice, the coherency of law, and enforceable commitments.
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Chapter 8: Instrument mix or instrument mess? The administrative complexity of the EU legislative package for climate change

Marjan Peeters


In the course of combating climate change, the EU has adopted a vast legislative package aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gases by 20 per cent in 2020 compared to the emissions from 1990. Part of this package is the EU-wide emissions trading scheme. The emissions trading instrument covers only 50 per cent of the greenhouse gases in the EU and is only one of many legislative measures that have been adopted by the EU. The current legislative approach of the EU in the field of climate change contains measures for (1) emission reductions, (2) renewable energies and (3) energy efficiency. Based on these three pillars, the EU pursues a 'triple 20' approach. This political choice entails the following goals for 2020: 20 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction, 20 per cent renewable energy, and 20 per cent energy saving. In order to reach these policy targets, a range of regulatory instruments has been established, such as, inter alia, emissions trading, taxation, permitting, voluntary agreements, liability arrangements (for carbon capture and storage), energy labelling, eco design requirements and fuel quality standards. Next to that, support mechanisms for, inter alia, promoting renewable energy have been established at EU and Member State level. The whole legislative package which supports EU climate policy is so vast and diverse that it has become an enormous challenge to master a good understanding of the specific provisions of each legislative measure and related potential legal conflicts.

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