Sustainable climate policy integration in the European Union

Sustainable climate policy integration in the European Union / Katharina Rietig, Environmental Policy and Governance, 23, pp. 297-310, published online 18 October 2013.

Abstract (Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment) :

The European Union increasingly integrates climate objectives into other policy areas. However, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions is not necessarily compatible with environmental protection or sustainable development, as the examples of nuclear energy, hydropower and biofuels illustrate. Therefore, climate policy integration needs to be compatible with the overarching objective of sustainable development. This article discusses under which conditions legislation that integrates climate objectives contributes to sustainable development and how this can be evaluated at the policy proposal stage. The key contribution is to illustrate in the European context how legislation on climate policy integration can be designed to also contribute to sustainable development. Based on the European Sustainable Development Strategy, this paper proposes four criteria: policy integration and coherence, environmental protection, social and economic development and justice/participation. These criteria are used to evaluate the Renewable Energy Directive and the 2014–2020 Common Agricultural Policy proposal. The paper concludes that both case studies can serve as best-practice examples for other policies on the European and national levels of how climate policy integration can be designed to also meet minimum levels of sustainable development. Policy implications are the inclusion of these criteria for sustainable climate policy integration into EU impact assessments and their use as minimum benchmarks in the policy debate as an evaluation tool that can be easily used by policy makers and stakeholders to evaluate if a negotiated compromise on a policy that integrates climate objectives still contributes to both reducing emissions and sustainable development.

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