By Selin, H. & VanDeveer, S., D., 2015

The European Union (EU) is an influential actor in environmental politics and policy-making across its 28 member states, around its periphery, and globally. Building on a diverse literature, this article examines European environmental policy-making and implementation since the 1970s. The first section discusses the evolution of the EU legal basis through treaty reforms for making environmental policy and seeking sustainable development. This is followed by a review of main actors in EU environmental politics and discussion of EU environmental policymaking and implementation. Subsequent sections assess EU environmental politics in the context of membership enlargements and examine EU international engagement with multilateral fora and other countries. The article presents data on environmental policy and ecological impacts within and outside the EU and summarizes main arguments about environmental policy in European integration and sustainable development, providing suggestions for future research.

By Institute for European Environmental Policy, 2013

The need to contain pollution, reverse environmental degradation and progress environmental sustainability has been a major policy challenge particularly in recent decades; it continues to be a priority for governments throughout Europe, including the UK. It requires action at all levels, from the local to the global.

Within this spectrum the European level has grown progressively since the 1970s to become the core framework in most areas of environmental policy. It now covers air and water pollution, major aspects of climate change mitigation, waste and recycling, biodiversity conservation, the regulation of chemicals, noise, energy conservation, environmental liability and justice, marine protection and several other issues. It provides a common EU framework within which there can be considerable flexibility for tailoring approaches to specific national and regional conditions. It is now the most developed and influential body of environmental law and policy on the global stage as well as within Europe. This has been achieved with the active support of governments from an increasingly diverse EU because it has been viewed as the most effective and efficient means of addressing much of the environmental and climate agenda – both in environmental and in economic terms. Successive British governments of all political outlooks have shared this view and the UK has exerted a significant influence on the evolution of the policy – in terms of the priorities set, the scientific evidence, the policy tools employed and some of the key measures adopted. These include the Water Framework Directive and core legislation on industrial emissions.

By Withana, S., et al., 2012

EU environmental policy is facing a new and challenging context. The current economic and financial preoccupations in Europe are unlikely to fade away quickly. It is difficult to forecast when instabilities in financial markets, uncertainties over economic and job prospects and pressure to maintain austerity regimes will end. The crisis in the Eurozone has led to bigger questions concerning the role of regulation and aspects of the EU project itself; particularly but not exclusively in the UK where political tensions have been brought to the fore in recent months. Details of a new inter-governmental agreement on the economic governance of the Eurozone are currently being negotiated. Most existing EU policies, including those concerning the environment, are not likely to be affected by this agreement. However, the political repercussions and dynamics of the new economic governance structure are yet to unfold and may spread beyond the arenas of fiscal and budgetary policy.

By Nuttall, M., 2012

This issue of The Polar Journal contains 10 articles that explore, in various ways and from the perspectives of several disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, contemporary aspects of politics, science and environment in the Arctic and in Antarctica. Both circumpolar regions have received widespread global attention in recent years. They are no longer peripheral to more generic considerations about globalization, sustainability, climate change, geopolitics, resource development and international security, among many other things, in the sense that the Arctic and the Antarctic have entered mainstream discussion about issues and challenges of pressing contemporary global concern.

By European Commission, 2012

Environment Action Programmes (EAP) have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early 1970s. The 6th EAP expired in July 2012; the European Commission, in response to demand from stakeholders, including the Council and the European Parliament, is proposing a successor programme.

The context of this proposal is fourfold. First, despite progress in some areas, major environmental challenges remain, as well as opportunities to make the environment more resilient to systemic risks and change. Second, the EU has adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, which guides policy development for the period up to 2020. Third, while many Member States are struggling to cope with the economic crisis, the need for structural reforms offers new opportunities for the EU to move towards an inclusive green economy. Finally, Rio+20 highlighted the importance of the global dimension.

This EAP aims to step up the contribution of environment policy to the transition towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy in which natural capital is protected and enhanced, and the health and well-being of citizens is safeguarded. The programme provides an overarching framework for environment policy to 2020, identifying nine priority objectives for the EU and its Member States to attain.

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By European Environment Agency - EEA, 2011

Today, many of society's most pressing problems are long-term policy challenges, lasting a generation or more. Policymakers and business leaders often face strategic decisions with uncertain future outcomes. Yet, despite numerous unpredictable factors beyond their control, decision-makers need to be confident that they can achieve specific outcomes. Failing to do so could result in systemic failures with major consequences for society. The environment sector presents a good example of these challenges. Environmental policymaking is characterised by highly complex problems and uncertainty about long-term future developments. Problems often unfold over several decades, driven by a myriad of forces across multiple scales, resulting in complex interlinkages and feedback loops (Volkery and Ribeiro, 2009). And failure to manage such risks could lead to catastrophic impacts.

Over recent decades, academia and the public and private sectors have become increasingly interested in approaches and tools for long-term future analysis. The tools now available to make long-term decisions more robust include horizon‑scanning approaches, model-based projections and comprehensive scenario-planning approaches (EEA, 2009; EFMN, 2009; Zurek and Henrichs, 2007).

By European Commission, 2011

The European Commission is looking at cost-efficient ways to make the European economy more climate-friendly and less energy-consuming. By 2050, Europe could cut most of its greenhouse gas emissions. Clean technologies are the future for Europe's economy. The Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy shows how the effort of reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be divided cost-effectively between different economic sectors. All sectors will have to contribute according to their technological and economic potential.

By Comission of the European Communities, 2009

Climate change increases land and sea temperatures and alters precipitation quantity and patterns, resulting in the increase of global average sea level, risks of coastal erosion and an expected increase in the severity of weather-related natural disasters. Changing water levels,temperatures and flow will in turn affect food supply, health, industry, and transport and ecosystem integrity. Climate change will lead to significant economic and social impacts with some regions and sectors likely to bear greater adverse affects. Certain sections of society (the elderly, disabled, low-income households) are also expected to suffer more.

This White Paper sets out a framework to reduce the EU’s vulnerability to the impact of climate change. It builds on the wide-ranging consultation launched in 2007 by the Green Paper on Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and further research efforts that identified action to be taken in the short-term. The framework is designed to evolve as further evidence becomes available. It will complement action by Member States and support wider international efforts to adapt to climate change, particularly in developing countries.

By United Nations Environment Programme, 2009

The Green Economy Initiative (GEI) is designed to assist governments in “greening” their economies by reshaping and refocusing policies, investments and spending towards a range of sectors, such as clean technologies, renewable energies, water services, green transportation, waste management, green buildings and sustainable agriculture and forests.

Greening the economy refers to the process of reconfiguring businesses and infrastructure to deliver better returns on natural, human and economic capital investments, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions, extracting and using less natural resources, creating less waste and reducing social disparities.

The Green Economy Initiative

By CIGI Working Group on Environment and Resources, 2009

The financial crisis has opened up an extensive debate about the reform of international financial standards and regulations. But the link between such reform and environmental issues has unfortunately been almost entirely neglected by financial officials to date. Policy makers would serve the goals of both financial stability and environmental sustainability by seizing this reform moment to “green” international financial regulations.

By European Commission, 2007

This Green Paper examines climate change impacts in Europe, the case for action and policy responses in the EU. It focuses on the role of the EU, but takes account of the prominent role of Member State, regional and local authorities in any efficient adaptation strategy. As the adaptation challenge is global by its very nature, the Green Paper also raises the external dimension and looks at adaptation measures in Europe that could also apply to other parts of the world, and the opportunity for the EU to provide international leadership in this area. The recent G8 Summit at Heiligendamm welcomed the adoption of the Nairobi work programme on adaptation and emphasised the participants' commitment to enhance cooperation with and support for developing countries in this area.

Download this file (GreenPaper_ClimateChange.pdf)GreenPaper_ClimateChange.pdf[ ]

By Newell, P., United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2007
The conflict over the extent to which climate change should be a pressing priority for the development community is increasing in intensity. While many claim that global warming ‘will cancel out western aid and devastate Africa’, or as DfiD claim presents ‘the biggest threat facing the world’,sceptics take the view that ‘climate change can wait’, especially in light of seemingly more urgent issues as health. A more balanced view would be that given the intimate relationship between climate change and economic growth, human health, poverty and access to key livelihood resources, we have to address both simultaneously, especially given the capacity of climate change to reverse progress in these other areas. Amid this polarisation and controversy, the development community is struggling to develop effective responses to the dual, and increasingly inter-related, challenges of tackling poverty and combating climate change.

Download this file (Kyoto_after2012.pdf)Kyoto_after2012.pdf[ ]

By Heller, P., S., International Monetary Fund, 2006

it is tempting to reduce the problem of longterm fiscal sustainability to the challenges facing aging industrial countries that have overpromised generous social benefits. But the reality is that all countries need to take stock of the multiple risks to which they are exposed over the long term and ensure that governments have the fiscal capacity to tackle them. Although the menu of options might suggest a reduced role for governments, the goal is to ensure that governments can deliver on their long-term commitments, continue to provide public goods and welfare assistance, avoid imposing politically damaging and economically disadvantageous tax burdens, and have the fiscal latitude to respond effectively to unanticipated risks.

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By Scheuer, S., 2005

This book provides a short outline of EU environmental policy history, analyses and presents some 60 pieces of EU environment and nature protection legislation, most of which have been adopted in the last 15 years, establishing links between the different pieces of legislation. Against the current decline in environmental policy and the trend towards its subordination to jobs and economic growth, the book encourages an informed and intelligent use of existing legislative networks and calls for resistance to attempts to water it down.

By Ruud de Mooji & Paul Tang, 2004

This study develops four scenarios on the future of Europe. They serve as tools for analysing these questions. Moreover, the study elaborates on the policy agenda of international organisations and European governments in response to the various challenges during the next two decades.

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By A. Jordan, 1999

Implementation lies at the 'sharp end' of the European Union (EU) environmental policy process. The success of the EU's policies must ultimately be judged by the impact they have on the ground, but despite many institutional initiatives, poor implementation remains a fact of life in Europe. In this paper the author investigates why the issue of poor implementation was neglected during the first decade of EU environmental policy, outlines the responsibilities and interests of the main actors involved in putting policies into effect, and discusses possible solutions to the well-publicised 'gap' between policy goals and outcomes. Implementation deficits will be difficult to eradicate completely because they serve to maintain the delicate 'balance' between governmental and supranational elements in the EU.

By United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987

The strategy for sustainable development aims to promote harmony among human brings and between humanity and nature. In the specific context of the development and environment crises of the 1980s, which current national and international political and economic institutions have not and perhaps cannot overcome, the pursuit of sustainable development requires: a political system that secures effective citizen participation in decision making. An economic system that is able to generate surpluses and technical knowledge on a self-reliant and sustained basis a social system that provides for solutions for the tensions arising from disharmonious development. a production system that respects the obligation to preserve the ecological base for development, a technological system that can search continuously for new solutions, an international system that fosters sustainable patterns of trade and finance, and an administrative system that is flexible and has the capacity for self-correction.