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Climate Change Policy in the European Union
Confronting the Dilemmas of Mitigation and Adaptation?


Andrew Jordan, Dave Huitema, Harro van Asselt, Tim Rayner, Constanze Haug, Roger Hildingsson, Johannes Stripple, Eric Massey, Frans Berkhout
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  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521208901

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About the Authors
  • The European Union (EU) has emerged as a leading governing body in the international struggle to govern climate change. The transformation that has occurred in its policies and institutions has profoundly affected climate change politics at the international level and within its 27 Member States. But how has this been achieved when the EU comprises so many levels of governance, when political leadership in Europe is so dispersed and the policy choices are especially difficult? Drawing on a variety of detailed case studies spanning the interlinked challenges of mitigation and adaptation, this volume offers an unrivalled account of how different actors wrestled with the complex governance dilemmas associated with climate policy making. Opening up the EU's inner workings to non-specialists, it provides a perspective on the way that the EU governs, as well as exploring its ability to maintain a leading position in international climate change politics.

    • Explores the emergence of climate policy in the EU and identifies the key governance choices that informed the design of its climate policies
    • Reveals how governors in the EU grapple with complex choices and dilemmas in a fast moving and strategically important policy area
    • Uses policy analysis to explore how policy could unfold in the future, and the governance dilemmas this may provoke
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Surveying the role of the European Union in relation to climate change policy is no easy task … How successful or otherwise the EU might be in this endeavour has a resonance across the world. This book provides an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to assess the possibilities and the pitfalls.' Lord Anthony Giddens, London School of Economics and Political Science, from the Foreword

    Review of the hardback: 'The book will be of great interest not only to those interested in the future of the climate regime but also to those concerned with the future of the European Union more generally.' Oran R. Young, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara

    Review of the hardback: 'This book is a must read for students and practitioners wishing to understand EU climate policy.' Miranda Schreurs, Director, Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie Universitat Berlin

    Review of the hardback: 'This timely and thought-provoking volume identifies cogently the policy challenges facing Europeans as regards climate change. As the authors carefully demonstrate, both well-focused policies and effectively implemented measures are needed if the European Union and its member states are together to make a difference.' Helen Wallace, Centennial Professor, European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science

    Review of the hardback: '[A] unique overview and analysis [of] the complexity of EU climate change policy … succeeds in delivering a vast amount of information, explanation and ideas to reflect upon in future research and policy making … recommended to students of EU climate change law and politics, academics and policy makers alike.' European Energy and Environmental Law Review

    Review of the hardback: '[A] timely, conceptually rich and policy relevant contribution to the understanding of EU climate politics. [T]his book makes a major contribution to understanding climate politics in the EU and beyond, and is an essential read for politicians and academics involved in climate policy …' Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences

    'This timely book systematically explores the dilemmas that policy makers face in the context of climate change … [T]he reiterated application of the same analytical framework throughout all chapters allows the reader slowly to grasp the complexity of the topic and understand the role of the governing bodies therein.' Climate Law

    '[M]akes a central contribution in deepening … understanding of and potential for European climate policy by providing an excellent and comprehensive account of which policy choices have been made by the EU … Overall, this book not only meets its objectives but carries the strong potential to set a new standard on reading lists for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses covering European environmental governance and climate policy. It is also very accessible for policy makers and anybody who wants to understand the underlying challenges posed by the multilevel governance structure of the EU for policy coordination.' Katharina Rietig, Environment and Planning C

    '[A]dmirably cogent, providing a great deal of political, institutional, and historical detail that has not previously been offered in any single, widely available source … a useful volume. It will be a particularly valuable read for scholars and practitioners … who need a one-stop presentation of the institutional, political, and historical complexities of these policies in the EU.' EUSA Review

    '[A] careful assessment of how the EU makes policy related to climate change … Written for specialists, it covers a broad landscape and is well informed.' Perspectives of Politics

    'In order to achieve their goal, the authors of Climate Change Policy in the European Union: Confronting the Dilemmas of Mitigation and Adaptation? have looked backwards in time in order to be able to project forwards. That is, they have studied the ways in which policymakers have grappled with the dilemmas of the past in order to provide insights and advice on the future evolution of EU climate-change policy … it is this future oriented aspect that constitutes the most interesting and useful aspect of the book.' Javier de Cendra de Larragán, University College London

    Review of the hardback: 'The book is valuable on several levels. It provides detailed insight into the development of EU policy in relation to climate change, and the framing in terms of the dilemmas that climate change presents to policy is profound.' Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union

    '… remarkably cohesive across its collection of edited chapters, [it] offers most valuable reading … all law under- and postgraduates (of all sub-disciplinary persuasions) [should] be confronted by the ideas offered …' Journal of Environmental Law

    '… a comprehensive institutional history of climate policy within the European Union [using] … a remarkably coherent conceptual framework … The presentation of empirical insights is remarkably accessible for a book dealing specifically with EU institutions …' Global Environmental Politics

    '… the authors skilfully weave a tapestry of 'dilemmas' to bring home the stark and painfully obvious truth that actions to combat climate change are rendered impotent by competing domestic and international political interests … a critical comment on the effectiveness of supranational legislation when it comes to the environment.' Glenys Spence, Academic Council on the United Nations System (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521208901
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of contributors
    List of abbreviations
    Part I. Introduction and Overview:
    1. Climate change policy in the European Union: an introduction Andrew Jordan, Dave Huitema and Harro van Asselt
    Part II. The Evolving Governance Context: The European Union:
    2. Governing the European Union: policy choices and governance dilemmas Andrew Jordan, Dave Huitema, Tim Rayner and Harro van Asselt
    3. The evolution of climate policy in the European Union: an historical overview Andrew Jordan and Tim Rayner
    Part III. Climate Policy in the European Union: Understanding the Past:
    4. Burden sharing: distributing burdens or sharing efforts? Constanze Haug and Andrew Jordan
    5. Renewable energies: a continuing balancing act? Roger Hildingsson, Johannes Stripple and Andrew Jordan
    6. Emissions trading: the enthusiastic adoption of an 'alien' instrument? Harro van Asselt
    7. Adapting to a changing climate: an emerging European Union policy? Tim Rayner and Andrew Jordan
    8. Adaptation in the water sector: will mainstreaming be sufficient? Eric Massey, Dave Huitema, Andrew Jordan and Tim Rayner
    9. The evolution of climate change policy in the European Union: a synthesis Andrew Jordan, Dave Huitema, Harro van Asselt and Tim Rayner
    Part IV. Climate Policy in the European Union: Future Challenges:
    10. Exploring the future: the role of scenarios and policy exercises Frans Berkhout, Constanze Haug, Roger Hildingsson, Johannes Stripple and Andrew Jordan
    11. Governance choices and dilemmas in a warmer Europe: what does the future hold for the European Union? Johannes Stripple, Tim Rayner, Roger Hildingsson, Andrew Jordan and Constanze Haug
    Part V. Climate Policy in the European Union: Retrospect and Prospect:
    12. Governing climate change in the European Union: understanding the past and preparing for the future Andrew Jordan, Dave Huitema, Harro van Asselt, Tim Rayner and Frans Berkhout

  • Editors

    Andrew Jordan, University of East Anglia

    Dave Huitema, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

    Harro van Asselt, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

    Tim Rayner, University of East Anglia

    Frans Berkhout, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam


    Andrew Jordan, Dave Huitema, Harro van Asselt, Tim Rayner, Constanze Haug, Roger Hildingsson, Johannes Stripple, Eric Massey, Frans Berkhout

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