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Should the EU climate policy framework be reformed?

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Author(s): David ELLISON

Journal: Eastern Journal of European Studies
ISSN 2068-651X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 133;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: EU climate policy | Climate change mitigation | Renewable Energy | Energy Efficiency | Carbon Taxes

ABSTRACT
Though to-date the European Union (EU) has played the most significant leadership role in international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the emission-reducing performance of individual EU Member states has for many been less than stellar. Several EU15 Member states continue to raise rather than lower emissions. Analysing the most successful policy instruments, this paper argues EU policy efforts could benefit from three important innovations. The following strategies – the adoption of an EU-wide FIT (feed-in tariff), an EU-wide carbon tax and more flexibility in the trading of carbon credits – could significantly improve emission reductions, their relative cost-efficiency and spread burden-sharing more evenly across technologies and Member states. This raises important questions, both about the effectiveness of EU and Kyoto-style commitments, as well as the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). The commitment strategy, and in particular the EU ETS mechanism, have had the smallest impact on emission reductions. The proposed set of strategies could make a far greater contribution to future EU efforts and potentially lock in the impressive progress already made. Such a policy shift, if successful, would also greatly enhance the EU’s already significant credibility and bargaining power in international climate negotiations.
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