The end of EU climate leadership
The end of EU climate leadership / Christoph Bals, Charlotte Cuntz, Oldag Caspar, Jan Burck. Berlin : Germanwatch, 2013, 20 p. (Briefing paper)
Authors’s abstract :
A number of influential industry lobby organizations in EU countries such as Germany are arguing that the EU should not continue its path as a leader on climate policy as other big emitter countries have not followed its lead. These lobbyists argue that further EU decar-bonisation action would endanger the global competitiveness of entire industry sectors. Many Germany and EU based energy-intensive industries are facing structural problems, worsened by the present economic crisis.
However, both the message itself and the assumption behind the argument are wrong. In this briefing paper, we highlight the following:
- In the past, EU climate action played an important role as it encouraged both OECD and Non-OECD countries around the world to take on more ambitious action them-selves.
- However, the EU is no longer the leader on climate policies as others have caught up or even outpaced the EU.
- Eventually, we argue that it would be beneficial for European competitiveness if the EU were to return to its role as the leader of international climate efforts. Those en-ergy-intensive industry sectors that are adversely affected by stricter climate regula-tion clearly need some protection in the short term. However, the EU urgently needs a more comprehensive approach that combines protective elements with a state-backed investment and innovation strategy. Such a comprehensive decarbonisation strategy would be beneficial in the mid and long term both for the climate and the EU economy. It could become the cornerstone of a sustainable economic recovery by spurring job creation, securing future shares in the growing market for low-carbon en-ergy products, enhancing energy security and reducing energy costs.