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Jun 302014
 

Transworld Paper No. 36

by Eugenio Cusumano

Global environmental governance has experienced a remarkable evolution over the last two decades, seeing the United States handing over its leadership role to the European Union. This paper analyses the transformation of transatlantic environmental governance through the lens of three scenarios, namely enduring partnership, structural drift and functional relationship. While the emergence of major disagreements over key issues such as climate change and biodiversity precludes the possibility of considering transatlantic environmental relations as an enduring partnership, these tensions have not degenerated into a structural drift, and various forms of cooperation have endured at different levels and in different environmental issue-areas. Due to the coexistence of cooperation and disagreement and the key role played by domestic political factors in shaping EU and US environmental postures, the present and future evolution of the transatlantic environmental partnership can be best conceptualised as a functional relationship.

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May 132013
 

Transworld Paper No. 26

by Simone Borghesi and Massimiliano Montini

This paper examines the main legal and economic aspects of the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS), with a particular emphasis on its features with respect to previous cap-and-trade regimes, its environmental and technological effectiveness and its potential role as a prototype for a global emission trading system. The EU has surprisingly changed its role from follower to forerunner in the ETS race. Despite being a prototype for other countries, however, the EU experience has shown a mixed skylight, characterized by flashing lights and dark shadows.

Keeping this in mind, the paper investigates the prospects for the extension of the EU ETS on a global scale, examining whom should regulate the global ETS and how. Three possible options are identified and discussed: (i) a worldwide ETS; (ii) a global network of regional/domestic ETS regimes; (iii) a linkage scheme between interacting regional/domestic ETS blocks.

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May 032013
 

Tansworld Paper No.24

by Bernice Lee and Diarmuid Torney

Much has been written on the conflicting range of domestic interests that have driven the politics of climate change in the US, and on the potential implications of the US shale gas revolution for US energy and climate outlook. Less analysed is the long term impact of extreme weather events on US public perceptions of climate change. With such extreme events becoming more prevalent, the question arises whether extreme weather could help re-shape US politics and policies on climate change. This paper discusses the political implications of extreme weather events in the US, and the associated public opinion changes. It highlights the challenges confronting the US environmental community in putting in place comprehensive climate policies, and explores how a higher level of awareness on the cost of preparedness and responses presents opportunities to reshape the public narrative around climate change and to mobilise grassroots constituencies in undertaking climate action.

May 032013
 

Transworld Paper No.23

by Helena Schulzov√°

The United States has since 2008 managed to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions, due to the combined effects of an increased use of shale gas, the economic downturn and subsequent slow recovery, and stimulus investments in the energy sector. Climate change-related topics, however, have become increasingly politicized, with Congress deadlocked on any comprehensive climate change and energy legislation. As a result, the Obama administration is resorting to its own powers to influence climate and energy policy, mainly through increased investment and regulations. Individual US states have also been increasingly active by supporting renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency, energy portfolio standards and even by adopting their own or regional market-based emissions trading system. This paper reviews the various measures taken at the federal and state level to protect the environment and fight climate change, with a view to identifying where leadership in this particular policy domain is exercised in the US.

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