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EU policy

In my last post I discussed about the policy-academia gap. One additional issue is that the entry costs into the policy debate are extremely high for researchers and experts. Without exhaustive ground work, and without a continuous exposure to policy makers and the general public, most researchers do not have the option to get direct access to either politicians or to provide even official statements in wide-read newspapers about policies.

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Policies should never be implemented without a clear idea as to what they are supposed to achieve. This clear idea tends to be an underlying model of the world which suggests that this policy intervention will lead to a desired outcome. That requires deep analyses, fundamental research, and an objective look at the problem. Without doubt, that’s the job of academia.

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pollutionThe recent 2016 EU Air Quality Report nicely shows  that air quality in Europe has been improving since 2000 across nearly all indicators. Whenever I can present a graph like the one on the right, I am happy. It makes me smile. I feel things are improving and my kids have a chance at a better future. With all the recent terrible events out there, the rise of right-wing attitudes and the many wars that are still being fought, these are finally good news.

BUT, like oh so many times, there is a catch. In fact, there are two catches.

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Many questions have been asked about the reasons behind #Brexit, about why Trump made it into oval office, the recent surge in right-wing political power in Europe, and I think the answers tend to be wrong. I think the answer to why these decisions were taken is really simple: Because their right-wing politicians provide the most convenient answer. And that is dangerous. Let me elaborate.

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There is a new EU public consultation on the development of a comprehensive, integrated Research, Innovation, and Competitiveness Strategy for the Energy Union, with policy fields research and innovation, Energy, Climate change, Transport, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Find out why it is required and why they need your answer and where to submit your opinions by reading on.

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Some news:

  • The Young Friends of the Earth Europe discuss why it is a myth that the EU is leading the way in terms of climate policy. They suggest this is because
    a) The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is based on the principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The EU is not living up to this.
    b) contributions to the Green Climate Fund by European nations have been notoriously low, very far from what was agreed in Copenhagen in 2009
    c) EU nations try to split developing country group at climate talks
    d) The EIB still lends three quarters of its research funds (around 10 billion euros annually) to the automobile industry in spite of its Climate Action Programme
    and much more you can find HERE
  • A list with additional points on why 2015 seems to be a lost year for EU environmental protection can be found HERE.
  • A discussion on the leaked draft ‘State of the EU #EnergyUnion’. Main takeaway point would be that even though the EU claims it wants to move away from fossil fuels, in reality nothing is mentioned in this draft of how this should be done. Thus, while there seems to be a willingness to move towards renewables, there is no clear strategy of how to do so.
  • via Reuters: There are missing EU wide guidelines for the nuclear industry on provisions for decommissioning and long-term spent fuel management. E.g. gross provisions are 4.7 billion euros per reactor in Germany, compared to just 1.2 billion in France and 3.38 billion euros in Britain. Transparency is needed, a unified regulatory framework, so that companies and countries do not suddenly wake up with an overhelming bill for nuclear energy.
  • Via Energytransition.de: Greenpace wants to buy German coal fields in order to make sure that at least a certain amount is left in the ground.

conference announcements:

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