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20 May 2015, 20:02 CET

Expert analysis, features and profiles of key topical issues in the European Union.

The UK and European energy co-operation post-Brexit

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 27 April 2017, 13:40 CET |

The UK Government has said that Britain will not seek to remain part of the Single Market post-Brexit. However, sectoral deals to retain access to parts of the Single Market have not been ruled out.

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EUR 8bn available for energy efficiency in Europe

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 06 January 2011, 17:15 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, FEATURE

Energy efficiency is the quickest and most cost-effective way to create jobs in green industries, improve energy security and reduce emissions. Improving homes also improves the health and happiness of inhabitants. The payback period – the time before the savings are greater than the initial investment – is usually only a few years. However, most governments and individuals are short of money for investment at present. Therefore, it is very surprising that there is substantial money available from the EU for energy efficiency work, which has not been claimed.

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Draft EU radioactive waste directive

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 18 November 2010, 23:25 CET |
Filed under: Environment, nuclear, FEATURE

The European Commission has now published a draft directive on safety standards for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and research facilities. Part of the Commission’s aim is to build public confidence in nuclear power – in 2009 the EU adopted rules on the safety of operating power plants and on-site storage.

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European Commission's new energy strategy

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 11 November 2010, 17:15 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, FOCUS

Yesterday the European Commission presented its proposals for a new energy strategy for the next decade. In Brussels jargon this is known as the Energy Action Plan. The EU is good at plans, less good at action, so the Commission has wisely named this document simply Energy 2020.

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Courts block Spanish coal subsidies

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 06 November 2010, 14:55 CET |
Filed under: Environment, FOCUS

The European Court of Justice has issued a temporary injunction preventing the Spanish government from subsidising the use of domestically produced coal in electricity generation.

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How to deliver energy efficiency in the EU

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 14 October 2010, 11:05 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, FEATURE

Using energy more efficiently is the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also has economic, energy security and employment benefits. In a speech to a conference on EU energy policy on 30 September 2010, energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger identified energy efficiency as his “first priority”. However, EU policy and performance in this area has been disappointing to date.

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'Green Ed' Miliband

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 27 September 2010, 23:15 CET |
Filed under: Environment, FOCUS, UK

Ed Miliband has been elected Labour leader. This is good news for UK climate politics, as he was a good energy and climate change secretary, taking the right steps on energy efficiency, renewables and nuclear, and some of the right steps on coal.

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The EU must support clean energy, not dirty coal

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 04 August 2010, 23:30 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, FOCUS

The EU aspires to be a world leader in reducing carbon emissions. It seeks to develop renewable sources of energy and new ways of making coal and gas cleaner. Success in these areas would enhance the EU’s energy security and foster innovative sectors, as well as helping the EU to achieve its climate change targets. But it will require significant investment.

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European Commission sensible on coal subsidies, but not on nuclear fusion

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 31 July 2010, 23:25 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, FOCUS

The European Commission has done well in securing some – though not nearly enough – money to support renewables and CCS from the European economic recovery plan and from auctioning permits under the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The recovery plan’s grants are just €1 billion. By comparison, EU countries (particularly Germany and Spain) paid out €3 billion in national coal subsidies in 2008 alone.

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Carbon and energy taxes in Europe

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 01 July 2010, 23:05 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, features

The demand to ‘make the polluter pay’ by putting a price on the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced has been a major point of discussion and debate across Europe since the mid-1980s.

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Taxes better than targets

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 22 June 2010, 12:25 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, FOCUS

Once again, European governments have been debating whether the EU greenhouse reduction target should be increased, from 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 to 30%, also by 2020. 20% will be easier to achieve than expected, given the recession, but is not enough of a reduction, so the target should be increased to 30%. This would also inject some momentum into the international negotiations, which is much needed.

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Subsidies should be switched

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 08 June 2010, 12:55 CET |
Filed under: Environment, FOCUS

The debate should not be between subsidy and no subsidy, but between subsidy for low carbon energy and energy efficiency and subsidy for high carbon energy.

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So it is getting warmer

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 03 June 2010, 16:00 CET |
Filed under: FOCUS

James Hansen, the top scientist at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and one of the first to warn world leaders of climate change, back in the 1980s, has said that the global temperature over the last 12 months reached its warmest on record.

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UK bills and bonfires

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 27 May 2010, 17:00 CET |
Filed under: Energy, FOCUS, UK

The new UK government has now announced its legislative programme for the next 18 months and there is to be another energy bill. This is a good bill and should be supported.

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A new UK government

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 13 May 2010, 15:50 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, ANALYSIS

The UK has a new government and the prospects for climate policy are mixed. The promised policies on aviation and coal are stronger than those of the former Labour government. The approach to renewables is similar to that of Labour – though, in the UK, renewables is all about delivery, not policy. However, the approach on nuclear power looks like a recipe for muddle and delay.

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Energy efficient homes

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 05 May 2010, 16:55 CET |
Filed under: Environment, FEATURE

Too much of the general political and media discussion is about making new buildings efficient. This must be done, but is nowhere near enough, as most of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built.

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Earth Day – what have we achieved in the last 40 years?

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 22 April 2010, 16:15 CET |
Filed under: Environment, FEATURE

22 April is the fortieth Earth Day, so it is an appropriate time to consider what the environmental movement has achieved globally over the last four decades. On the first Earth Day, April 22 1970, more than 20 million Americans took part in demonstrations. It has now become a global movement and, this year, organisers say that they hope about 1.5 billion people will take part, in 190 countries.

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The UK general election – climate and money

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 06 April 2010, 15:35 CET |
Filed under: Environment, FOCUS

Climate Answers will comment on what the parties are saying they would do, their policy statements and the manifestos once they appear. Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have all made major statements in the last five weeks: Labour and Tories on energy and the Lib Dems on transport.

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Norway leads

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 24 March 2010, 17:10 CET |
Filed under: Energy, Norway, FOCUS

Last week, the Norwegian government announced that it is on track to meet its new renewables target for 2011. On the face of it, this isn’t significant – the country had only 428Mw of installed wind capacity at the end of 2009, so the contribution from wind and other 'new renewables' (that is, not large hydro) is not huge. However, Norway is significant on climate change and has played a major role in climate policy for many years.

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What the EU should do about CCS

Posted by Stephen Tindale at 03 March 2010, 23:45 CET |
Filed under: Environment, Energy, features

This morning, the Centre for European Reform launched the report which Simon Tilford and I have written about what the EU should do about CCS (carbon capture and storage). We argue that large-scale demonstration will require public money, and that widespread and rapid deployment will require regulation, ideally at European level.

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