New EPRG Policy Brief on EU 2030 energy and climate proposals

For full text of the EPRG Policy Brief:

‘Nothing is being done’ to explicitly encourage emissions cut by China and America’

 22 October 2014


The 2030 framework on climate change and energy policy being debated at a European Union summit this week has a “glaring omission” by failing to link EU policy to emissions reduction by China and the U.S., say energy academics at the University of Cambridge.


International climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015 may mark a defining moment in climate change policy, so the EU framework’s failure to link to such talks represents a serious shortcoming, says the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG), comprised of academics from Cambridge Judge Business School and the Faculty of Economics at Cambridge University.


“More needs to be done to ensure an adequate, credible and durable carbon price, address carbon leakage and encourage other major emitters to act,” the EPRG said in a policy brief issued this week in advance of the EU summit.


“Going into major international climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015, nothing is being done to explicitly encourage actions by other major emitters.”


While the 2030 European framework is an “important step” in placing greenhouse gas emissions at the centre of European policy, the EPRG policy brief makes five key recommendations: (i) reform the EU emissions trading system, (ii) add more interconnectors between countries, (iii) coordinate national efforts to ensure there is sufficient electricity generation capacity; (iv) invest more in research into immature low-carbon technologies; and (v) address competitiveness concerns arising from unilateral action on reducing emissions.


The Cambridge academics said the failure to link the EU framework to reductions by other major emitters represents a missed opportunity.

“Whereas in the previous 2020 energy and climate package the EU explicitly linked tougher action on emissions reductions to the actions of others, this is a glaring omission in the current proposal,” says David Reiner, assistant director of EPRG and University Senior Lecturer in Technology Policy at Cambridge Judge Business School.

The policy brief says: “China and the U.S, the two largest emitters, are currently experimenting with local carbon markets and adopting domestic regulatory measures, but in both countries (and the EU) there are concerns about impacts on competitiveness, so the possibility of more aggressive reductions should be explicitly tied to progress in the major economies.”




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