Skip Navigation

Environment Magazine September/October 2008


May-June 2010

ResizeResize Text: Original Large XLarge Untitled Document Subscribe

Learning the Hard Way? European Climate Policy After Copenhagen

For the European Union, the December 2009 United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen represents more than a grand failure of political strategy. The outcomes of the summit left European policy-makers and the public disillusioned over the prospects for a strong and legally binding global climate regime after 2012. The EU now has to confront crucial choices regarding its future climate policy strategy, both externally and internally.

Over the past two decades, climate change and European policy responses to it have fulfilled a number of important roles for the EU. The emergence of a coherent international climate policy regime through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol was a powerful illustration of seemingly effective multilateralism and sustainable development. Europe believed that it had played a leadership role in creating and sustaining this global regime1 and earned prestige domestically and internationally by taking an approach consistently different from the United States, especially after President George W. Bush announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. Climate change increasingly became a powerful rationale for furthering the European integration project and an important legitimization for EU action.2

Constanze Haug is a researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam. Her research focuses on climate law and policy, in both their European and international dimension. In her dissertation, she examines the learning potential of simulation-gaming approaches in climate policy appraisal. She is grateful to Harro van Asselt, Andrew Jordan, and Benjamin Pohl for comments on an earlier version of this article.

Frans Berkhout is Professor of Innovation and Sustainability, and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the VU University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Among other advisory roles, Professor Berkhout was a lead author in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (2007) and chairs the Industrial Transformation project of the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP). His early research was concerned with the economic, political and security aspects of nuclear power. His more recent work has been concerned with technology, policy, and sustainability.

The full text of this article is available by subscription only.

Subscribe Become a Subscriber   |   Access for Current Subscribers Access for Current Subscribers

In this Issue

On this Topic

Taylor & Francis

© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group · 530 Walnut Street, Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA · 19106