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  • Author: Sofia López Piqueres, Sara Viitanen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: As the European Commission launches its long-awaited Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, EU and national efforts to continue the transition to sustainable mobility will ensue. However, the green transition often overshadows and, at times, even comes at the expense of the most affected and vulnerable groups of society. The precarious, the elderly, people with disabilities and rural residents still face unfair conditions and access to mobility. Green alternatives are often scarce and far away, if they exist at all. Sofía López Piqueres and Sara Viitanen highlight the lack of inclusiveness in and the omittance of rural areas from European mobility systems and outline 11 recommendations which would ensure distributional justice, procedural justice and recognition justice. The carrots and sticks that are used to incentivise people to adopt more sustainable mobility options must be carefully studied. Moreover, process matters. Achieving buy-in for the transition requires considering the varying needs of people and placing special focus on vulnerable groups with limited mobility options, who may end up carrying a disproportionate cost of the transition without seeing the immediate benefits. It is time to accelerate the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and society with mobility systems that are both environmentally friendly and socially just.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Giuli, Annika Hedberg, Sofia López Piqueres
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Even if we were to radically change our behaviours and economic policies now, it wouldn’t be enough to stop all of the economic, societal and environmental impacts of climate change. The EU and its member states need to start thinking seriously about how our societies will adapt to this new reality. Climate mitigation alone will not be enough to stop the dramatic effects of climate change and will have to go hand in hand with adaptation efforts. That is the sobering reality European decision- and policymakers need to keep in mind when developing climate action measures. Given the close interconnections between ecosystems, people and economies in a globalised world, there are strong reasons for EU member states to join forces, pool risks and cooperate across borders. This paper, therefore, calls on the EU to mainstream adaptation and shift its focus from reacting to disasters to a more proactive approach that prioritises prevention, risk reduction and resilience building. During the presentation of the new EU climate law yesterday, European Commission President von der Leyen hinted that member states would be required to develop and implement strategies that do just that.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Economic Policy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Giuli, Claire Dhéret, Johan Bjerkem, Marta Pilati, Stefan Sipka
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: European industry is falling behind. New and unprecedented challenges and megatrends, from a slowdown in global trade to digital disruption and climate change, are making it increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the curve. However, despite these fast-paced developments, industry remains the backbone of the European economy, delivering high-quality jobs, innovation and world-class companies. To retain its competitive edge, the EU must embrace change and renew its industrial strategy. There is growing political momentum for a revived EU industrial strategy, both in the member states and in the new von der Leyen Commission, which pledged to put forward a new industrial strategy as part of a “European Green Deal”. This Issue Paper presents the results of the EPC’s Task Force on an Industry Action Plan for the European Union, which started in February 2018. It argues that in renewing its industrial strategy, the EU should put in place an ‘Industry Action Plan’, complete with new policy tools and concrete industrial initiatives. Beyond mainstreaming industrial competitiveness across policy areas, the Action Plan should provide a more holistic and policy-oriented approach, with a vision towards 2030 that focuses on competitiveness, sustainability and strategic autonomy: Firstly, to ensure that the European industry remains competitive, the EU should aim to play a stronger role in global value chains, with a higher value-added. Secondly, the EU must create the conditions for the European industry, as well as the products and services it provides, to become sustainable and thus contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate-neutrality in alignment with the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. European industry should become fully climate-neutral by 2050 and seize the opportunity to become a global leader in sustainable and circular business models. Finally, an Industry Action Plan should contribute to achieving greater strategic autonomy for Europe by better responding to distorted competition and levering market power, and moving towards more technological sovereignty. Europe should mobilise all the tools at its disposal to become a global leader in developing digital technologies that address the societal, environmental and health challenges of today. This Paper includes a list of recommendations centred around five policy strands: making the Single Market (including competition policy) work; improving innovation policy and achieving technological sovereignty; acting strategically and enforcing reciprocity; ensuring a fair and inclusive industrial transition; and climate-proofing industry with a 2050 climate neutrality roadmap.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Science and Technology, European Union, Economy, Industry
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Romain Pardo
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement will make its implementation more challenging. The United States (US) had been instrumental in brokering a successful deal in Paris and speeding the ratification process for an early entry into force of the agreement. While the US remains party to the agreement for the next four years, its involvement in upcoming international climate discussions remains uncertain. Meanwhile, policy developments in the country such as the "Energy Independence Executive Order" indicate that the current administration has currently no intention to fulfil the pledge made by the previous one to lower CO2 emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels in 2025.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Development
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Claire Dhéret, Marco Giuli
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Energy poverty, defined as the "inability to afford basic energy services such as adequate warmth, cooling, lighting and the energy to power appliances due to a combination of low income, high energy expenditure and poor energy efficiency of dwellings",2 has recently been on the radar of policymakers, leading to some efforts in tackling the issue. Yet, developing adequate policy solutions has remained difficult both at the national and European level, not least due to the complexity and the multidimensional nature of the phenomenon and the limited competences of the European Union (EU) in the social area. Thus, despite some positive developments, there still is a long journey towards eradicating energy poverty. This paper presents some milestones along the way and recommendations for the future.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe