European Energy & Climate Policy: Time To Get Moving

Written by Inline Policy on 13 Jan 2015

If last autumn was the settling-in period, the New Year is the time for the new European Commission to get moving on its priorities. The European Parliament elected last May has now bedded in, the Committees have established a work programme, and the parliamentarians will be keen to start making an impact on policy-making and regulatory measures. The next few months are therefore likely to see a lot of activity. As energy policy - and its multiple linkages with the wider European economy - has already been highlighted by Juncker and his senior lieutenants as one of the most important issues on the agenda, Commission officials in DG Clima and DG Energy are going to be busy, as will the ENVI (Environment) and ITRE (Industry, Trade and Energy) Committees in the Parliament. This piece analyses the key themes and what may merge in terms of concrete policy or legislative proposals.

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Climate Change COP 20: The International Negotiations Stay (Just About) On Track

Written by Inline Policy on 17 Dec 2014

In Lima, at the beginning of this week, after two weeks of the usual tortuous negotiations, the 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) emerged with the Lima Call for Climate Action. This sets out the main priority issues for the parties in relation to the landmark COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 - the deadline for an international agreement on climate change - and attaches a 39-page document (a “non-paper”) containing various options for different elements of  a draft negotiating text.

This note analyses Lima’s outcomes and the prospects for an international climate agreement in Paris 12 months away.

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International Climate Change: What does next week's conference in Lima hold?

Written by Inline Policy on 27 Nov 2014

On 1 December representatives of the 196 parties (member countries) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will gather in Lima for the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) international meeting. The climate negotiations have in recent years - especially since the conspicuous failure of parties at Copenhagen in 2009 to agree an international treaty - tended to be regarded as a non-event, an interminable discussion from which nothing material ever emerges. Will Lima, COP 20, be any different?

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The 2030 Climate and Energy Framework: The Regulatory Follow-Up

Written by Inline Policy on 04 Nov 2014

This article follows up a recent piece I wrote on the importance of agreeing a 2030 climate and energy framework at last month’s European Council. Following that agreement in Brussels, this article analyses some of the interesting (and surprising) elements of the agreement, and looks ahead to how the agreement will be followed up over the next few months.

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European Council: 2030 Climate and Energy Framework

Written by Inline Policy on 22 Oct 2014

This Thursday and Friday, 23 and 24 October, at the European Council in Brussels, EU Heads of Government will take their most significant decision on climate change and energy policy for nearly six years, i.e. since the 2020 framework was passed into legislation. On the agenda this week is a prospective political agreement on the policy framework for climate and energy up to 2030, setting relevant targets to deliver that framework. Energy security is also on the agenda, with the Council reverting to its discussions in June on the European Commission report on how to reduce dependence on Russian gas.

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Exploring the Critical Features of a Global Agreement to Tackle Deforestation

Written by Inline Policy on 08 Oct 2014

The issue of deforestation and forest degradation, as explained in our previous analysis piece, has to be addressed urgently by donor and tropical forest countries alike. At present, these governments face the challenge of creating new regulatory frameworks to protect the world’s tropical forests. This, however, cannot be achieved without the collaboration of the private sector, a non-state actor which will play a key role in this process.

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Talking Climate Change; Protecting Tropical Forests

Written by Inline Policy on 12 Sep 2014

Deforestation, the “direct, human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land”, as defined by the UNFCCC, and forest degradation, are one of the greatest challenges of our time. As the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) reports, tropical forests cover approximately 7% of global land area and provide habitat for at least half of the world’s biodiversity. However, they are currently experiencing a net loss of 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon every year.

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European energy and climate: Brussels goes back to work

Written by Inline Policy on 01 Sep 2014

The temperatures are falling; the mornings and nights are getting a little darker; it feels like autumn is just around the corner - it’s back to school time! This particularly applies to the politicians and civil servants who ply their trade in Brussels on EU policies and regulation. The new European Parliament barely had time to convene before it departed for the summer break. At the European Commission, all eyes are on new President Jean-Claude Juncker as the horse-trading between him and member states for the top political jobs in Brussels, including Commissioner portfolios, reaches its climax over the next two weeks.

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UK shale gas: Still a long road to travel

Written by Inline Policy on 04 Aug 2014

On 28 July, the British Government announced its first licensing round for six years for companies who wish to prospect for onshore oil and gas. The announcement was top of the news agenda, and there was no mistaking the excitement in UK ministerial (and Conservative) voices as they claimed that the speeding-up of exploration for shale could boost jobs, economic growth and national energy security.

But a deeper analysis suggests that it would be wise to temper this enthusiasm with some realistic appraisal of the obstacles that will have to be addressed before we reach the ‘promised land’. 

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The UK government reshuffle: the implications for energy and climate policy

Written by Inline Policy on 24 Jul 2014

Now that the dust has settled a little, it’s worth examining Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent reshuffle in more detail, and what it might mean for the coalition’s policies on climate change and energy between now and next May’s General Election.

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Price comparison websites in the spotlight

Written by Inline Policy on 21 Jul 2014

Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) are popular tools amongst tech-savvy consumers, especially in the consumer goods, energy and financial sectors. The key to their attractiveness is that they allow consumers to quickly search for and compare the best deals in the market. PCWs usually operate on either a flat-fee, or a commission-based model and attract new customers via online and offline advertising. Some of the biggest players have become very profitable, thus attracting new companies to enter the market.

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Renewables: A case study of what (mostly) good policy can achieve

Written by Inline Policy on 09 Jul 2014

For all that some of the media (in the UK at least) enjoy stirring the pot about the unsuitability of renewables projects because of their impact on the landscape, on local communities, etc, investors and the finance sector will tell you that is policy direction and regulatory stability which counts.

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Energy and environment: the Brussels institutions start getting back to business

Written by Inline Policy on 02 Jul 2014

The questions of who will occupy the top jobs on environment and energy in Brussels over the next five years, particularly in the European Parliament (EP) and in the European Commission, will matter greatly. There is a big policy agenda ahead, coming at a testing time for European policies on energy markets and security of supply, which will have price implications for industry and consumers, and the decarbonisation strategy.

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European energy market integration needs an action agenda

Written by Inline Policy on 25 Jun 2014

The EU needs to make the single European energy market a reality. But to achieve this, it will need to concentrate more on incentivising investment, infrastructure and technical issues rather than on grand political gestures.

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Reforming the EU ETS: It's only just begun

Written by Inline Policy on 18 Jun 2014

Things may be looking up for the EU’s “flagship” climate policy instrument. But much more needs to be done from the autumn.

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UK shale gas policy: A question of balance

Written by Inline Policy on 11 Jun 2014

The Government would be advised to eschew a fracking at all costs approach in favour of a more carefully weighted public strategy.

One of the more eye-catching measures announced in the recent Queen’s Speech was the UK Government’s proposal to change the trespass laws and allow fracking companies to drill under people’s homes without their permission.

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London protest against Uber symptomatic of global backlash

Written by Inline Policy on 10 Jun 2014

Tomorrow's protest against Uber, by an estimated 12,000 London taxi drivers, looks set to cause considerable disruption and have a significant negative economic impact too.  Figures suggest that the protest could cost London’s economy as much as £125 million (see tonight’s London Evening Standard).  The controversy centres on an app provided to Uber's drivers - separate from the one used by the public - that calculates the journey distance and time taken, and then relays this information to remote computer servers to determine the fee.

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More sustainable policies needed from the 'greenest government ever'

Written by Inline Policy on 03 Jun 2014

This post is a guest blog from Charles Perry, Director at sustainability group Anthesis-SecondNature.

This month sees the fourth anniversary of David Cameron’s promise that the coalition would become ‘the Greenest Government Ever’. But, as Charles Perry argues, blue and yellow have not made green, and those promises of action on climate change have dropped from sight.

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Making Europe's energy more secure - policy-makers have to join the dots...

Written by Inline Policy on 02 Jun 2014

This is important…

On 28 May the European Commission adopted a major communication on an EU energy security strategy. This is potentially an extremely important document - especially if it were to be implemented – and was drafted, at the request of member states, as a direct response to the Ukrainian crisis and concerns about over-reliance on Russian gas. There are few things more critical than keeping the lights on and our homes heated.

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IEA's latest Technologies Report lays bare the tough climate and energy policy choices ahead

Written by Inline Policy on 23 May 2014

The International Energy Agency (IEA) invariably has something interesting to say on energy policy, on what is happening now and on future trends. Their latest report, Energy Technology Perspectives 2014, which lays out pathways to a sustainable energy system by 2050, is no different in this regard.

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