“Negative emissions”: the next challenge for climate policy

forest in Italy (photo Moyan Brenn)

If the Paris climate objectives are upheld, policymakers will soon be facing calls to set emission-reduction targets of much more than 100 percent, write Oliver Geden of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and Stefan Schäfer of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. But the debate about how to achieve “negative emissions” – and who will have to achieve them – has not even … [Read more...]

Post-Paris: if the EU can’t be climate leader at home, it could lead by helping others

closing of Paris climate summit for local leaders (photo UN)

Although the Paris Agreement was a diplomatic success for the European Union, the EU’s own climate policy is looking increasingly unambitious, write Susanne Dröge and Oliver Geden of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. According to the authors this is the result of internal differences which are unlikely to be resolved soon. They suggest that if the EU wants to maintain its international leadership in the … [Read more...]

The EU’s climate strategy for Paris: recipe for another failure?

Credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr

The European Commission has proposed a strategy for the Paris climate talks that includes the aim of achieving a “Paris Protocol”. According to Susanne Dröge and Oliver Geden of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, this strategy does not take into account the new global context of the negotiations. They urge the EU to drop the word “protocol”, consider how to align the international process with internal EU … [Read more...]

Limits of the “Energy Union”: expect only pragmatic progress

Illustration: Europe by Satellite

On 8 June the EU Member States will discuss the European Commission’s proposals for an Energy Union. According to Severin Fischer and Oliver Geden of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, it is already clear that they will avoid or delay implementation of any meaningful steps in the direction of a political energy union. Over the next few years, they write, the focus of EU energy and climate policy will be … [Read more...]

EU climate policy: time to come down to earth

Press Conference by Miguel Arias Cañete Commissioner for Climate  for Climate Action and Energy, with Francesco La Camera, representative of the European Union, at Climate Conference Lima 2014 (EU/AFP/Sebastian Castañeda)

For many years, the EU pursued the strategy of ‘leading by example’ in international climate negotiations. However, since the Copenhagen climate summit, frictions inside the EU and a paradigm shift have become increasingly evident, write Severin Fischer and Oliver Geden of the influential German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). With the October 2014 compromise in the European Council on a new climate framework for 2030, the … [Read more...]

A warning from the IPCC: the EU 2030’s climate target cannot be based on science alone

IPCC meeting - photo Takver

The European Union often emphasizes that it is pursuing a “science-based” climate policy. The European Council’s long-term emission reduction target of 80-95% by 2050 explicitly refers to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thus, it came as a surprise for many European policymakers and stakeholders that the latest IPCC report did not offer any specific guidelines on future EU climate targets. … [Read more...]

EU climate policy “in line” with 2050 goal – but what does that mean?

Photo: Stop Climate Chaos

EU leaders agreed last week that the EU’s emissions reduction target for 2030 will be “fully in line with the agreed ambitious EU objective for 2050”. Sounds impressive, but the problem is that there are different views on the meaning of earlier European Council agreements. Therefore it’s still not clear what the EU’s 2030 climate target will look like, write Oliver Geden and Severin Fischer of the influential German Institute for International … [Read more...]