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Climate Policy Integration into EU Energy Policy

Monday, 16 September, 2013 - 16:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Social Sciences and Solvay Business School
Karel Van Miert Building, Pleinlaan 5
Rome and Lisbon Room
Claire Dupont
phd defence

The public defence of the Ph.D. in Political Science for Claire Dupont will take place on Monday September 16th 2013 at 4 pm in the Rome and Lisbon Room of the IES (Karel Van Miert Building, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels)

The Ph.D thesis is called "Climate Policy Integration into EU Energy Policy.'" (Promoter: Prof. dr. Sebastian Oberthür)

Please confirm your attendance by Wednesday September 11th to


Climate change is a complex, cross-cutting and global problem. The nature of the issue presents policymakers with real challenges in agreeing effective policy measures to respond. Integrating climate policy objectives into the elaboration and agreement of policy measures in other sectors represents one promising method for ensuring coherent policies that respond adequately to the climate problem. This thesis examines the extent to which long-term climate policy objectives are integrated into energy policymaking in the European Union (EU) and discusses why varying levels of climate policy integration (CPI) are found.
The EU has long aimed to be an international leader on the climate issue. To demonstrate “leadership by example”, the EU aims to implement its own policy measures to combat climate change. CPI could be deployed in EU policymaking to enhance policy efficiency. Three EU energy policies are examined in this research project for the extent of CPI over the course of 2000 to 2010, namely: renewable energy policies; energy performance of buildings policies; and, policies in support of external natural gas infrastructure.
The results of the analysis in this dissertation revealed varying levels of CPI in the three cases. Overall, however, these levels were found to be insufficient, when compared to the long-term objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 80 and 95 per cent by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels). While a combination of explanatory variables can be deployed to understand the insufficient levels of CPI, the recognition by policymakers of the functional interrelations between energy and climate policy seems to be a crucial first-order explanatory variable. The extent of political commitment to CPI provides an important (but insufficient) explanation. These findings highlight that policymakers may need to consider explicitly the long-term implications of their policy decisions on the achievement of climate policy goals.
The research project contributes to literature on environmental policy integration and the emerging body of literature on climate policy integration. The dissertation provides an operationalisation of the concept of climate policy integration that can be further refined and tested in later studies. It contributes to reflections at the EU-level on the need for efficient policies that consider long-term implications of decisions taken today.