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EU climate lead in peril

For how long will the EU’s self-acclaimed “climate leadership” survive the Obama revolution? Could a “green” Obama administration pose a bigger challenge to the EU’s climate credentials than the temporary backlash of the financial crisis? Who will win the race for the new “eco-competitiveness”?

These questions are hard to answer for the moment but there are two trends which might tell us where the future of green policies is heading. On the one hand, there is the climate “counterrevolution” which we can now observe in the European Union against the Commission’s climate and energy package, led by the new EU member states (who never had a green revolution in the first place or strong environmental movements). On the other hand, the momentum for change in the US which could lead to a new “Green Deal” which would see the US take over the climate/energy leadership banner from the EU.

One example: one of the most interesting developments coming out of the Obama transition news in the US, is the likelihood of a new Energy Security Council or a Climate and Energy Council.

The EU commission officials who are these days starting to prepare the blueprint for the post-2009 EU commission should keep their eyes on these developments. The EU post-2009 could do with an integration of the three portfolios of energy-environment-economy (the 3Es). The Lisbon agenda should be shelved and replaced with a new project: to prepare Europe for the hard transition from a world without limits to the future resource-constrained one-Planet global economy. Yes, we can.

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