Region Forward Blog

Climate & Energy Policy (European Edition)

Mar 9, 2012


Uncertainty is a term that’s been used with much frequency since the beginning of the Great Recession a few years ago. While initially related to the economic sector the lexicon of uncertainty has spread to other areas as well including climate and energy policy.

The United States currently lacks a cohesive and forward-looking energy policy that charts out our goals for energy use and production. Unfortunately a comprehensive energy policy one that looks at our present and desired future energy portfolio based on things like emissions reduction goals energy independence costs etc. is not currently in the cards. Cue the uncertainty.

A good model for such a policy for the US might be the Energy Roadmap 2050 recently released by the European Commission the Executive Branch of the European Union. As a recent Carnegie Europe brief indicates the Roadmap outlines the EU’s “strategy to improve the Union’s energy security and competitiveness while transitioning to a low-carbon energy system.”

The Roadmap outlines various scenarios such as business-as-usual high energy efficiency high renewable sources and low nuclear and charts their impact on energy use production and emissions. The Roadmap will guide the Commission’s climate and energy policy proposals for the 27-member European Union.

In related news the first-ever “Global Cleantech Innovation Index” was recently released by the World Wildlife Fund and the Cleantech Group. Who tops the list? Denmark followed by Israel Sweden Finland and the US. The index which measures how easy it is to create and successfully market clean energy evaluated 38 countries on 15 indicators to derive each country’s potential for innovation in the field over the next decade.

Sticking with Europe as the Environmental News Network recently reported a European Parliament (the EU’s legislative branch) committee recently approved a requirement that all member states “will have to set themselves legally binding national energy efficiency targets and save energy by specific means such as renovating public buildings.” The EU has set ambitious emissions reductions targets that the Parliament sees this requirement as key to achieving those reductions.

Lastly a few climate-and-energy related links to satisfy your weekend reading:

Der Spiegel International:Global Opposition Grows against EU Emissions Law

Council on Foreign Relations:The Sustainability Mindset

The Washington Post:Eurostar 2011 passenger numbers up 2 percent boosted by travelers from outside EU

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