Towards a Climate-Neutral Europe : Curbing the Trend book cover
1st Edition

Towards a Climate-Neutral Europe
Curbing the Trend

Edited By

Jos Delbeke


Peter Vis

ISBN 9789276082613
Published October 30, 2019 by Routledge
248 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explains the EU’s climate policies in an accessible way, to demonstrate the step-by-step approach that has been used to develop these policies, and the ways in which they have been tested and further improved in the light of experience. The latest changes to the legislation are fully explained throughout.

The chapters throughout this volume show that no single policy instrument can bring down greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge facing the EU, as for many countries that have made pledges under the Paris Agreement, is to put together a toolbox of policy instruments that is coherent, delivers emissions reductions, and is cost-effective. The book stands out by the fact it covers the EU’s emissions trading system, the energy sector and other economic sectors, including their development in the context of international climate policy.

This accessible book will be of great relevance to students, scholars and policy makers alike.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.



Table of Contents

List of figures. List of tables. Foreword. Acknowledgements. List of contributors.

1. Have 25 years of EU climate policy delivered? Jos Delbeke
Introduction; 1.1 The world is on a most worrying path; 1.2 The EU reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 22% since 1990; 1.3 The EU decoupled its emissions from economic growth; 1.4 The five cornerstones of EU climate policy; Conclusion.

2. The Paris Agreement. Jos Delbeke, Artur Runge-Metzger, Yvon Slingenberg and Jake Werksman
Introduction; 2.1 The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol; 2.2 From the failure of Copenhagen (2009) to the success of the Paris Agreement (2015); 2.3 Essential features of the Paris Agreement; 2.4 Are global emissions slowing down? 2.5 EU’s international cooperation focuses on the implementation of low-carbon policies; Conclusion.

3. How economic analysis shaped EU 2020 and 2030 target setting. Tom Van Ierland and Stefaan Vergote
Introduction; 3.1 The potential of integrated economic and climate modelling; 3.2 The Low-Carbon Roadmap towards 2050; 3.3 Towards a Commission proposal for a 2030 climate and energy framework; Conclusion.

4. The EU Emissions Trading System. Damien Meadows, Peter Vis and Peter Zapfel
Introduction; 4.1 How does the EU Emissions Trading System work? 4.2 Emission reductions of 26% under the EU ETS from 2005–2017; 4.3 Addressing the low carbon price since 2013; 4.4 A fundamental review for the period from 2021–2030; 4.5 Carbon leakage and free allocation: having industry on board; 4.6 Fairness and aspects of solidarity; 4.7 The use of auction revenues for low-carbon innovation and climate policies; 4.8 The use of international credits; 4.9 The prospect for international cooperation on carbon markets; Conclusion.

5. The Effort Sharing Regulation. Artur Runge-Metzger and Tom Van Ierland
Introduction; 5.1 Emissions from the non-ETS sectors; 5.2 Effort Sharing 2013–2020; 5.3 Differentiation and flexibilities allowed for 2021–2030; Conclusion.

6. Energy-related policies and integrated governance. Artur Runge-Metzger, Stefaan Vergote and Peter Vis
Introduction; 6.1 Renewable energy; 6.2 Electricity market integration and the Market Design Initiative; 6.3 Energy efficiency; 6.4 Strengthened governance of the Energy Union; Conclusion.

7. Transport emissions from road, aviation and shipping. Damien Meadows, Alex Paquot and Peter Vis
Introduction; 7.1 The EU’s overall policy towards internalisation of external costs; 7.2 Emissions from road transport; 7.3 Emissions from international aviation and shipping; 7.4 Emissions from shipping; Conclusion.

8. Agriculture and forestry in the EU’s 2030 climate target. Artur Runge-Metzger and Peter Wehrheim
Introduction; 8.1 Agriculture, soils and forestry in different pillars of the EU policy; 8.2 The Kyoto Protocol and agriculture and land use; 8.3 The LULUCF regulatory framework for 2021–2030; 8.4 The enabling environment for climate action in forestry and agriculture; 8.5 Forward looking climate policies in view of 2050; Conclusion.

9. Mainstreaming climate change in EU policies. Christian Holzleitner, Philip Owen, Yvon Slingenberg and Jake Werksman
Introduction; 9.1 Phasing down the use of fluorinated gases; 9.2 Short-lived climate forcers: methane and black carbon; 9.3 Adaptation to climate change; 9.4 Mainstreaming climate into the EU budget and developing sustainable finance; Conclusion.

10. Ten personal reflections on the difficult journey towards climate neutrality. Jos Delbeke
Introduction; 10.1 Societal megatrends and the climate challenge; 10.2 The urgent need for the implementation of policy plans (NDCs); 10.3 The need for a carbon price combined with local policies; 10.4 Towards a complete decarbonisation of the energy sector; 10.5 Low-carbon transport is urgently required; 10.6 Emissions from aviation and maritime sectors grow out of control; 10.7 The need for an enlightened industrial and trade policy; 10.8 The increasing importance of agriculture and forestry; 10.9 The critical importance of local authorities and citizens; 10.10 The growing challenge of adaptation to climate change; Conclusion.


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Jos Delbeke is a Professor at the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute in Florence and at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, from which he holds a PhD in Economics (1986). He was Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action from its creation in 2010 to 2018, and has worked for the European Commission since 1986.

Peter Vis retired from the European Commission in 2019. He was previously an Adviser in the Commission’s in-house think-tank, the European Political Strategy Centre. Over his career he worked in several Directorates-General of the European Commission. For the academic year 2014–2015 he was the EU Visiting Fellow at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK. He was Chief of Staff to Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action (2010–2014). He has an MA (History) from the University of Cambridge, UK.


‘‘Towards a Climate-Neutral Europe. Curbing the Trend’ is a book to keep at hand, so that it can be consulted at any time there is a need to dig into the details of a certain EU climate policy question. Contributions cover all the key aspects of EU climate policy, from the EU Emissions Trading System to the energy sector and other economic sectors, including their development in the context of international climate negotiations. This choral effort results in a real instrument for the daily work of both public and private decision-makers, scholars, students and any interested reader having/wanting to deal with the fascinating and rapidly evolving EU climate policy space.’

Simone Tagliapietra, Bruegel, Brussels (Belgium), in Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy
Volume 10, Number 2