Environment, climate change, urban and regional policies

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    Climate change campaigners should be cautiously optimistic after the latest UN Climate Summit

Climate change campaigners should be cautiously optimistic after the latest UN Climate Summit

World leaders met in New York on 23 September for a ‘Climate Summit’ with the aim of discussing some of the measures that will be contained within a new climate change agreement in 2015. Federica Genovese writes that while the summit provided little in the way of new commitments, it nevertheless demonstrated that the international community of climate policy […]

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    Five minutes with Ulrich Beck: “All kinds of positive developments can result from climate change”

Five minutes with Ulrich Beck: “All kinds of positive developments can result from climate change”

Climate change is one of the most salient issues facing governments across Europe, but does it have the potential to alter the political and social order of the world? In an interview with EUROPP’s Managing Editor Stuart Brown, Ulrich Beck discusses the transformations brought about by climate change, the role of global cities in generating innovation, and why climate sceptics […]

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    Countries willing to act should address climate change through market-based solutions now – other countries will follow

Countries willing to act should address climate change through market-based solutions now – other countries will follow

What solutions should be used to tackle climate change? Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker writes that it is time to consider a market-based approach which makes polluting energy more expensive and encourages the creation of green jobs. He suggests that countries which are ready to engage in such policies should press ahead now, without international agreement, and that other countries will […]

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The latest UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw highlighted the role that smaller states can play in negotiations

Climate change negotiations aimed at an eventual deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol have proved extremely challenging in recent years. Federica Genovese writes on the UN Climate Change Conference held in Warsaw last month. She argues that while a distinction is traditionally made between ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ states in negotiations, supposedly weaker states have far more capacity to shape decisions […]

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The dispute over the Rosia Montana mining project represents an opportunity to reshape Romania’s sustainable development policy

Earlier this month, a Romanian Parliamentary Commission rejected the controversial Rosia Montana law, intended to allow the largest gold-mining project in Europe. Simona Manea argues that the issue represents an important opportunity to push for sustainable development policies in Romania. She also notes that the protest movement that has emerged in response to the mining project has the potential to […]

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    Climate change discussions must move away from the green growth model and focus more on political and social change

Climate change discussions must move away from the green growth model and focus more on political and social change

The 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference took place in Warsaw from 11 – 23 November. Nikolas Scherer writes that while most proposals to address climate change have been based on economic solutions, the issue also involves important political and social factors. He argues that the discussion must shift away from economic arguments to a more comprehensive approach to our […]

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    Far from driving businesses away from Europe, EU climate policy has the potential to generate future growth for European industry

Far from driving businesses away from Europe, EU climate policy has the potential to generate future growth for European industry

A common criticism of EU climate policy is that it makes conditions more expensive for European businesses, which may encourage companies to relocate to other parts of the world. Andrzej Ancygier writes that much of this criticism is overstated. He argues that providing concrete long-term climate goals would provide more security for businesses, and that EU climate policy can also […]

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Creating an independent carbon authority might offer a solution for reforming the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme

The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using a ‘cap and trade’ system, in which levels of emissions are capped, but participants can buy and sell allowances as they require. Godefroy Grosjean and Robert Marschinski note that the system has been undermined due to the price of permits falling drastically since 2008. They provide […]

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The EU should intervene in the debate over Romania’s controversial Rosia Montana mining project

A number of protests have taken place in Romania over a planned mining project at Rosia Montana in the north of the country. Simona Manea argues that the EU should take a more active role in the debate, particularly given its attempts to lead efforts to implement the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to shape the UN debate […]

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    A European energy strategy is required to secure the EU’s future energy needs

A European energy strategy is required to secure the EU’s future energy needs

Europe faces a number of problems in maintaining its energy supply, from climate change to the dependency on imported energy from outside of the EU. Günther H. Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Energy, outlines the main features of a proposed European energy strategy. He argues that energy challenges are among the greatest tests which Europe has to face, and that […]

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    Moving from the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ to ‘equitable access to sustainable development’ will aid international climate change negotiations.

Moving from the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ to ‘equitable access to sustainable development’ will aid international climate change negotiations.

As part of our series on the Dahrendorf Symposium, Marcus Hedahl writes on international climate change negotiations. He notes that negotiations were initially carried out under the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’, in which the developed world should bear the bulk of the responsibility for tackling climate change due to its historic emissions and greater financial resources. He argues […]

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    Designing roofs in European cities to reflect more solar energy would help prevent climate change, at little to no extra cost.

Designing roofs in European cities to reflect more solar energy would help prevent climate change, at little to no extra cost.

The amount of solar energy that is reflected by different materials can have a significant impact on temperatures, both at a local level and across the globe. As Tiziana Susca writes, cities generally have higher temperatures than surrounding areas, in part because the materials used in construction reflect less energy. She argues that by encouraging the construction of rooftops in […]

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Spain performs poorly on two measures of intergenerational justice, but is close to the OECD average overall.

Do governments prioritise the interests of older generations over those of younger citizens? Pieter Vanhuysse outlines results of a study on ‘intergenerational justice’, with a particular focus on how Spain ranks relative to other OECD members. His results show that while Spain performs poorly on two measures – the impact of Spain’s ecological footprint on future generations, and child poverty […]

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Policies aimed at encouraging the take-up of green cars may have unexpected results on both emissions and markets.

Road transportation currently contributes to 19 per cent of CO2 emissions in Sweden, a figure that is higher than the EU’s average. From 2007 to 2009, the Swedish government put in place a Green Car Rebate to encourage people to buy lower emission cars. Cristian Huse and Claudio Lucinda assess the effectiveness of the policy, finding that while it did […]

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The case for a European low-carbon economy

In order to protect its future prosperity from the effects of climate change, Europe must move away from its current high-carbon path, to one built on sustainable growth and clean sources of energy. Lord Nicholas Stern makes the case for European governments to lay out a clear vision for a low-carbon economy. He argues for measures that include decarbonising the […]

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Rising house prices do not tend to fuel greater consumption by households

Do house prices influence consumption patterns? The economic crisis has led to a slump in both the price of houses and in consumption, meaning that any link between the two is of great interest to policy-makers who wish to kick-start consumption in order to reinvigorate growth in Western economies. New research from Martin Browning, Mette Gørtz and Soren Leth-Peterson attempts to find […]

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Despite their trade row, China and the EU face similar challenges to energy security and conservation.

The recent trade dispute over solar panels shows the fraught relations between China and the EU over energy. Justine Doody writes that the current quarrel could pit the two against each other in a wider struggle. For now, technical rather than political cooperation seems the most both sides can hope for.  The EU announced at the beginning of June that […]

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Greater public spending on alternative energy in Europe may be the key to a sustainable recovery.

The public debate about a European economic recovery has been dominated by arguments over stimulus and austerity policies, and divisions between the North and the South. In an attempt to move away from these dichotomies, Afzal Siddiqui and Max Hänska argue that Europe should adapt to the shifting centres of economic gravity, harness its comparative advantages, and manage its recovery […]

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A cooperative social science is needed to respond to the politics, policies, and problems facing global cities

There is a great need to understand the role of urbanisation in society and respond effectively, particularly given global economic and social insecurity, argues Mike Goldsmith. But the increasing specialisation within disciplines means that such vital dialogues on cities are becoming difficult. An interdisciplinary effort is needed to bring the study of cities, their politics, policies and problems back into the […]

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The European Commission must support and stimulate the research and innovation needed to take Europe out of the crisis.

Could the Eurozone crisis and austerity lead to a lost decade for millions of Europe’s citizens? Jonathan Grant and Helen Rebecca Schindler write that in the face of the crisis, Europe must invest in research and innovation. With an annual budget of over €10 billion for research and development, the European Commission must now play a leading role in stimulating […]

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