climate variability

European energy and climate policy: time for change

Start

Among the ten priorities of the new European Commission is the desire to give a new impetus to European energy and climate policy: in accordance with the wishes of its President, Jean-Claude Juncker, this must lead to a "more energy-resilient Union with a visionary climate change policy". France Stratégie has sought the expertise of three European economists, including Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, who is publishing a report/working paper so that the European Commission can properly define its objectives. To force political leaders to make choices and change the situation.

While the European Commission must logically follow new guidelines and in particular the recovery plan announced by its President, it must also take account of the events it may face, in particular developments in international climate negotiations, possible variations in hydrocarbon prices and the development of non-conventional hydrocarbon production. Finally, it must fit into the geopolitical framework in which the European Union is developing, particularly with regard to Russia.
With this in mind, France Stratégie sought the expertise of three European economists: Marc Oliver Bettzüge, Professor of Economics, Director General of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne; Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford University; and Fabien Roques, Associate Professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine and Vice-President at Compass Lexecon. A first report published in January 2014 diagnosed the crisis in which the European electricity system finds itself.

In 2014, European policy on energy and climate change has returned to the forefront. The annexation of the Crimea and the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine have raised tensions with Russia to levels not seen since the Cold War. The European Union responded with an energy security plan and sanctions.

Events elsewhere have further complicated the situation. In the Middle East, the rapid progress of EIIL (the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" now called the Islamic State), internal conflicts in Libya, the war in Gaza and the continuing negotiations with Iran on nuclear issues suggest that the optimism initially generated by the "Arab Spring" was misplaced to say the least, and chronic instability has returned.
In the United States, the energy revolution continues to transform the geopolitics of oil and gas, and the initial scepticism initially aroused by these changes and the announcement of possible North American energy independence is giving way to recognition of the permanence and scale of these changes, which concern international energy markets as much as Europe. The implications of the end of the commodity supercycle are both extremely profound for European energy policy and very poorly understood. Commodity prices have collapsed, especially oil prices, which have fallen below 80 $ per barrel[1].

As far as climate change is concerned, it is almost certain that there will be no follow-up to the Kyoto international framework after the Paris conference in December 2015. China's per capita emissions have now surpassed those of Europe and it is finally accepted that it is China, not the European Union, that is at the heart of the climate change problem. China has announced that it intends to cap its CO2 emissions only after 2030, when in any case they are likely to reach their highest level, with a much higher value after another 15 years of increases. The Paris conference will be based on a series of "pacts" and "commitments", very close to the model of the Copenhagen Accord, and not on the credible and legally binding binding measures that were envisaged by the Durban Conference of the Parties in 2011.

Global emissions are now rising to nearly 3 parts per million, the 440 ppm threshold has been exceeded, and in Europe, Germany is seeing its emissions rise as coal continues to dominate the power generation energy mix. The target of a maximum warming of 2 degrees seems out of reach.

Why not enjoy unlimited reading of UP'? Subscribe from €1.90 per week.

Although many EU leaders are keen to argue that these external developments on security and climate change confirm the relevance of existing policies, in particular the internal energy market and climate change package, this position is increasingly difficult to defend. Change is needed.

This report/working paper presents a possible direction for European energy and climate policy. Section 2 discusses economic principles and in particular trends in raw material prices and technologies. In this context, section 3 examines the conceptual framework and how to design policy instruments to achieve the objectives. This section is based on an article entitled "The current situation and medium-term outlook for European electricity markets" published in October 2014 [2]. Sections 4, 5 and 6 deal respectively with each key element of the policy: security, climate and financial sustainability. Section 7 considers next steps and policy options for Europe.

1] At the time of writing this report
[2] Helm, D.R. (2013) The Current Situation and Medium-Term Outlook for European Electricity Markets, October.

Read the full report 

(Source: France Stratégies 16 March 2015 © Dieter Helm)

Nous avons un message pour vous…

En octobre dernier nous avons pris l’engagement que UP’ Magazine accordera au dérèglement climatique, à l’extinction des espèces sauvages, à la pollution, à la qualité de notre alimentation et à la transition écologique l’attention et l’importance urgentes que ces défis exigent. Cet engagement s’est traduit par le partenariat de UP’ Magazine avec Covering Climate Now, une collaboration mondiale de 250 médias sélectionnés pour renforcer la couverture journalistique des enjeux climatiques.

Nous promettons de vous tenir informés des mesures que nous prenons pour nous responsabiliser à ce moment décisif de notre vie. La désinformation sur le climat étant monnaie courante, et jamais plus dangereuse qu’aujourd’hui, il est essentiel que UP’ Magazine publie des rapports précis et relaye des informations faisant autorité – et nous ne resterons pas silencieux.

Notre indépendance éditoriale signifie que nous sommes libres d’enquêter et de contester l’inaction de ceux qui sont au pouvoir. Nous informerons nos lecteurs des menaces qui pèsent sur l’environnement en nous fondant sur des faits scientifiques et non sur des intérêts commerciaux ou politiques. Et nous avons apporté plusieurs modifications importantes à notre expression éditoriale pour que le langage que nous utilisons reflète fidèlement, mais sans catastrophisme, l’urgence environnementale.

UP’ Magazine estime que les problèmes auxquels nous sommes confrontés dans le cadre de la crise climatique sont systémiques et qu’un changement sociétal fondamental est nécessaire. Nous continuerons à rendre compte des efforts des individus et des communautés du monde entier qui prennent courageusement position pour les générations futures et la préservation de la vie humaine sur terre. Nous voulons que leurs histoires inspirent l’espoir.

Nous espérons que vous envisagerez de nous soutenir aujourd’hui. Nous avons besoin de votre soutien pour continuer à offrir un journalisme de qualité, ouvert et indépendant. Chaque abonnement des lecteurs, quelle que soit sa taille, est précieux. Soutenez UP’ Magazine à partir d’1.90 € par semaine seulement – et cela ne prend qu’une minute. Merci de votre soutien.

Je m’abonne →

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
climate
Previous article

Climate justice

durable development
Next article

World Forum on Sustainable Development: Dividing Factor or Driving Force for a New World Order?

Latest articles from Climate

JOIN

THE CIRCLE OF THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND OUR TIME OF TRANSITION, LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH OPEN EYES AND ACT.
logo-UP-menu150

Already registered? I'm connecting

Inscrivez-vous et lisez three articles for free. Recevez aussi notre newsletter pour être informé des dernières infos publiées.

→ Register for free to continue reading.

JOIN

THE CIRCLE OF THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND OUR TIME OF TRANSITION, LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH OPEN EYES AND ACT

You have received 3 free articles to discover UP'.

Enjoy unlimited access to our content!

From $1.99 per week only.
Share
Tweet
Share
WhatsApp
Email
Print