Environment, climate change, urban and regional policies

Low-carbon innovation has risen in Europe, but the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme may not be the main factor in this growth.

The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was launched in 2005 as a major part of Europe’s strategy for tackling climate change. As Raphael Calel and Antoine Dechezlepretre write, at its launch, there were fears that the scheme would not offer sufficient incentives to encourage research in low carbon technologies. Based on an analysis of European companies before and after […]

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The EU is at risk of violating its international obligations if efforts to reform the Common Fisheries Policy prove unsuccessful.

Recent months have seen renewed efforts to reform the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. Alexander Proelss assesses the EU’s track record, noting that 81 per cent of European fish stocks are currently overfished by the EU’s own estimates, and that this figure may be even higher depending on the measurement used. A number of different obstacles will need to be overcome […]

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Contrary to national stereotypes, French workers are more productive than their German counterparts and only marginally less productive than American workers.

Recently, the CEO of a US manufacturer commented that his company would not invest in a factory in France due to concerns over the productivity of local workers. Surprised by these comments, Bob Hancké looked into statistics across Europe for labour market productivity and hours worked. He finds that French workers are nearly as productive as their American counterparts, and […]

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Whaling in Europe is dependent on the continued willingness of governments to fund it at a loss.

Hunting whales for commercial purposes has been prohibited by international treaties since the 1980s. Despite this, several countries, including Norway and Iceland, still participate in whaling. Ian Hurd assesses the continued existence of whaling in Europe, noting that due to falling demand for whale products, the practice generally relies on government subsidies. Tackling the incentives which encourage governments to support […]

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Rebuilding EU fish stocks could generate substantial financial resources for the European economy.

On 6 February, the European Parliament voted in favour of proposals to reform the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. Sebastian Villasante and Rashid Sumaila assess the problem posed by overfishing in Europe’s waters and outline some of the key areas which need to be addressed if the Common Fisheries Policy is to achieve its aim of ensuring sustainable fishing. Humanity has […]

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Far from being a drag on growth, environmental policy can actually help drive it

Michael Jacobs argues that green growth speaks directly to the economic priority of governments. Environmental policies, as well as tackling environmental costs, can address other market failures which inhibit growth, help boost aggregate demand, stimulate employment, and drive innovation. Over the past four years the concept of ‘green growth’ has burst onto the international policy scene. A term rarely heard before […]

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Instead of simply paying for losses, Europe should institute cost-effective adaptation measures to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

Climate change is no longer an abstract concept, but one that is costing Europe and the world in both human and economic terms. Writing that climate change could cost the world trillions every year within a few decades, Annika Ahtonen argues for more policies from Europe geared towards helping member states and regions adapt to climate change, rather than the […]

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In northern Poland, villagers are struggling against shale gas exploration that threatens to transform their lands and livelihoods.

Shale gas exploration, or ‘fracking’, is on the rise, and is not without controversy with many concerned about its potential for environmental damage. In northern Poland, gas and oil exploration companies are increasingly making use of the technique with the full support of the government. Edyta Materka looks at the response of local villagers and Kashubians – a Polish-German ethnic […]

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What the Olympics didn’t say about Britain’s place in the world

Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony left the British media swooning, with much of the international media likewise impressed, if slightly befuddled. However, Eric Taylor Woods argues that the event organisers missed a chance to show the positive and negative aspects of Britain’s central role in world history. Since the conclusion of the 2012 London Olympics, much has been written about what this […]

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The London Olympics – making a ‘piece of city’

Ricky Burdett discusses the Olympics’ ‘Great Leap Eastwards’ and argues that London is on its way to improving on the pattern of social inequality. However, the journey will be long and fraught with challenges. City government needs to retain control and ownership of the land, and put in place checks and balances to ensure that land values and gentrification do not […]

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Regional development may be the answer to the austerity vs. growth dilemma in Greece.

Greece’s economy is mired in a deep recession. As Helen Caraveli notes, however, there are large regional disparities within Greece. While some areas of the country experienced a boom during the country’s integration into the EU, other areas have struggled to cope with structural changes, such as the reduction in agriculture’s role in the local economy or de-industrialization. Pursuing development […]

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The average cost overrun for producing the Olympic Games has been more than 200% since 1976

Will Jennings explores the history of vast cost overruns for Olympic Games. He isolates three common factors behind grossly underestimated costs since 1976: the bid process, uncontrolled growth in project specifications, and the failure to identify and manage risk. As recently as March, the UK’s Public Accounts Committee criticised the organizers of London 2012 for its rising security bill: “It is staggering that the original estimates […]

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Policy-makers are often unnecessarily timid in imposing climate change regulations

When governments design policies to reduce firms’ greenhouse gas emissions, are they too lenient on heavy polluters that claim such measures will damage their ability to compete in the global economy? Using European and UK survey data, Ralf Martin, Laure de Preux and Ulrich Wagner assess the UK’s experience with the climate change levy. The idea that people who are responsible […]

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By unleashing the low-carbon economy we can create jobs and reduce deficits and debts.

Voters in Greece, France and the United Kingdom have sent a clear signal in the past month that they want governments to give priority to jobs and opportunities as well as reducing deficits and debt. Lord Nicholas Stern argues that unleashing the low-carbon economy could achieve these goals. Framed by credible and stable policies, the European Union could then unlock private […]

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Collective bargaining has been decentralised in the UK and Germany over the past three decades. But in Germany, unions have retained much more power.

In 2009, 62 per cent of German employees had their wages determined by collective bargaining, against only 33 per cent of British employees. Niels-Erik Wergin-Cheek explores the reasons for this difference arguing that both the political and economic environment as well as the strategies and structures of German trade unions have kept them relatively strong. In both Great Britain and […]

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Book Review: Climate Policy after Copenhagen

Karsten Neuhoff’s compact contribution aims to scope the role of and recent experience with carbon pricing, and provides all the reasons why a global carbon pricing scheme is a truly formidable undertaking, finds Dominic Moran.   Climate Policy after Copenhagen. Karsten Neuhoff. Cambridge University Press. July 2011. Even before the recent climate negotiations started in Durban we were told to […]

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