Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Book Examines European Union's Climate Change Policies

The European Union's leadership role in addressing climate change is explored in a new book written by David Buchan, a senior fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and a former Financial Times energy editor.

"Energy and Climate Change: Europe at the Crossroads," is particularly timely as the United States begins to seriously consider for the first time whether to address climate change.  The EU has been seriously (although not always entirely successfully) working on this issue for a decade, and in 2005 established the world's first cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions.  The EU has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 20 percent based on 1990 levels by 2020, as well as increasing the percentage of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020.

This morning's Financial Times includes a book review ("EU's Global Warming Policy Blazes a Trail," May 28, 2009) that is highly favorable to Mr. Buchan's book.  Among other things, the book review says:
"His book will be indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the progress the [European energy] industry has made in the past decade, and where it is likely to go in the next.  The framing narrative is the story of how the European Union's politicians and officials tried to forge collective approaches to meet three often conflicting challenges: competitiveness, energy security, and climate change."
I have not yet read the book (although I've just ordered it).  However, one thing is for sure: The global leader in addressing climate change is in Brussels, where the EU is primarily located.   Washington, D.C., has not even merited a mention until the last few months.

Consequently, if one wants to stay current on action (and not just talk), the key is to know what the EU is doing.  As far as the U.S. goes...well one would just as well (until recently) pick up People Magazine and read about the lives of the rich and famous. This is about as "hot" as the news has typically gotten in the U.S.    

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