Decision making eea (ue) usm working paper 2010


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Decision making eea (ue) usm working paper 2010

  1. 1. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union Decision-making process regarding climate change regulation in European Union 2009 - 2013: The role of European Environment Agency Eduardo Oliveira* School of Social Science |University Sains Malaysia School of Economics and Management |University of MinhoAbstractThis working paper seeks to contribute to the debate about the role of The EuropeanEnvironment Agency and it is argued that in order to capture a fuller picture of their functioning,we need to go beyond a legal framework (legislation from European Commission as Green andWhite papers), taking into account institutional features that involve both formal and informalprocesses. The inception of the European Environment Agency (EEA) was in 1991. Over theyears the EEA has become a more loyal partner to the European Commission in the Europeanadministrative system, balancing the ability to have a credible voice on the one hand and theneed for stability and a secure resource supply on the other. The Agency has also been able tomeet increasing demands for information without a similar scale of increase in resources, alsopointing to efficiency gains within the organisation. In the Agency we strive to give value formoney across an enormous environmental agenda. This is essential in todays climate ofincreased financial pressure and the growing number of organisations working on environmentalissues.To contribute directly to European Union (EU) policy developments on climate change impacts byrefining relevant indicators, producing assessments, combined with socio-economic factors inEurope, using past trends, now casting, spatial analysis, forward looking assessments, and policyeffectiveness analysis including economic aspects.Key-words: European Union; European Environment Agency; Climate change; Decision-making; 1
  2. 2. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionContents Abstract ............................................................................................................................... 1 Key-words: ........................................................................................................................... 1 Contents .............................................................................................................................. 21. Introduction..................................................................................................................... 32. Overview ......................................................................................................................... 52.1. Climate Change ........................................................................................................... 52.1.1. Conflating weather and climate .................................................................................. 52.2. Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for economy and communities ....................... 63. The European Environment Agency (EEA) ......................................................................... 93.1. Mission and values ...................................................................................................... 93.2. The aim of the European Environment Agency ............................................................ 103.3. The European Environment Agency strategy for 2009–2013 ........................................ 113.4. The strategic objectives ............................................................................................... 133.5. The Multi-Interpretable EEA Regulation ........................................................................ 143.6. The role and autonomy of the EEA ............................................................................... 163.7. Decision – making in process action (legislation) ......................................................... 173.7.1. White paper............................................................................................................. 193.7.2. Green paper ............................................................................................................ Green Paper on greenhouse gas emissions trading within the European Union ..... 204. Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 235. References .................................................................................................................... 255.1. URL references .......................................................................................................... 28 2
  3. 3. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union1. IntroductionThe European Environmental Agency (EEA) is well placed to further develop its role as a providerof independent and assured environmental information. This new strategy will continue tosupport the aims of the Environment Action Programmes of the European Union (EU). Thisclimate change, nature and biodiversity, environment and health as well as natural resources andwaste will continue to be at the at the centre of the work of the EEA. The new Strategy will alsotake forward the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS).Integrated environmental assessments and anticipating new thinking, especially about ecosystemservices, eco-efficiency and emerging technologies and innovations will play a key role in shapingEuropean environmental policies. Well designed environmental policies are necessary andpositive for our society and economy. The EEA will continue to work closely with neighbouringcountries, in particular the West Balkan region, as Croatia and Macedonia.According with the EEA Strategy 2009–2013 — Multi-annual Work Programme, at the electronicaddress of the European Commission Environment1 -> and the electronic address of theEuropean Environment Agency (EEA) (Martens 2010: 893), the EEA regulation came into force 2in 1993 after it was decided to locate the organization in Copenhagen, Denmark. The regulationalso established the European environment information and observation network EIONET.EIONET consists of the EEA itself and around 900 experts from 38 countries in nationalenvironment agencies and other bodies dealing with environmental information.The Management Board (Board) is formally the main decision-taker. It decides on the finalversions of the work programmes and budgets and approves annual reports. The Board iscomposed of four senior officials from the European Commission and one from each MemberState in addition to two designated members who are independent scholars, reporting to theenvironmental committee of the European Parliament. The chairperson of the Board, the fourvice-chairpersons, one Commission representative and one of the members designated by theParliament constitute the Bureau of the agency. The Bureau is entitled to make executivedecisions in between meetings of the Board. The EEA provides the secretariat of the Bureau. TheEEA has also a Scientific Committee whose main function is advisory. It comprises approximately20 members, and it is consulted in quality control of the work programme and the differentreports of the agency.1 URL:, October 2010.2 URL: in the line of Martens (2010: 893). 3
  4. 4. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionThe EEA has its own information centre that gives responses to external requests for information.It was expanded in 2006 and receives about 500 requests monthly.The EU may have a more important role to play in supporting voluntary agreements. It appearsthat the most effective voluntary initiatives with industrial sectors have been underpinned by EUframework legislation. If implementation of Directives could come about through voluntary ornegotiated agreements member states might be more willing to agree to more ambitious targets.Industry may play a more constructive role if it has a greater say in implementation. Without theregulatory framework, preferably at EU level, such agreements will be impossible to monitor andare unlikely to deliver significant environmental change.On this working paper we will start with a overview concerning the environment and the role ofthe EEA, following the main issue concerning the climate change and finalize with the conclusionabout the practical action and policy making results of the interaction between EEA and the mainbodies of the European Union, as European Parliament and European Commission. Theframework is the years between 2009 and 2013 because of the last EEA Strategy 2009–2013 —Multi-annual Work Programme. 4
  5. 5. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union2. OverviewThe society at large does not appear to be deeply concerned with global warming, and as aresult, is not yet acting on the ever-more urgent warnings emanating from the science andadvocacy communities. Despite encouraging signs, ignorance, disinterest, apathy, and oppositionare still prevalent. The resulting frustration among climate scientists and advocates runs high.They see the problem of global warming as urgent, difficult but not impossible to address, andneeding immediate and substantial societal action. Yet their strategies to raise the sense ofurgency in the public and among policy-makers don’t seem to be working.Well, some things are being done, but not nearly enough to be commensurate with themagnitude of the problem. While the balance of available scientific evidence conveys anincreasing sense of urgency, society as a whole (Bostrom et al. 1994). 2.1. Climate Change 2.1.1. Conflating weather and climateThe weather is the state of the atmosphere at a definite time and place with respect to heat orcold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness; meteorological conditions.The climate, is the average course or condition of the weather at a particular place over a periodof many years, as exhibited in absolute extremes, means, and frequencies of given departuresfrom these means, of temperature, wind velocity, precipitation, and other weather elementsBostrom et al. (1994).The evidence that people conflate weather and global climate change comes from a variety ofsources, including public opinion polls, focus groups, and cognitive studies. For almost twodecades, both national polls and in-depth studies of global warming perceptions have shown thatpeople commonly conflate weather and global climate change. Simply talking about climatechange in the way that has been done for the past few decades is not creating a sense ofurgency or effective action. Certainly, there is an important role still for making the science ofglobal warming accessible to the public. This function has served well in raising the issue to thehigh level of awareness that it already enjoys. Providing more information or speaking moreloudly about climate change, is not enough.Carbon dioxide is invisible and at atmospheric concentrations have no direct negative healthimpacts on humans as do other air pollutants. Moreover, it has taken a while (in most places) forimpacts on the environment to be detected. Most people do not connect driving their cars or 5
  6. 6. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Unionflipping on a light switch with emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. As a social problem, then, it isjust not visible or experienced directly in the same way that job losses, obesity, or trafficcongestion, social issues in the communities.The impacts of global warming are typically perceived as remote. Images of ice receding in theArctic and sea-level rise affecting distant tropical islands in the Pacific, while dramatic, do notpersonally affect most of the world’s population (McCarthy et al., 2001; Rayner and Malone,1998; O’Brien and Leichenko, 2000).Current weather is treated as evidence for or against global climate change, with anecdotes morecommon than not (Williams, 2005). In what might be seen by non-scientific audiences as onlysubtly different from use of weather anecdotes, changes in the frequency or patterns of extremeevents have long been cited by climate scientists as evidence of global warming (Webster et al.,2005).The heat wave in Europe in the summer of 2003, and the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasonsappear to have triggered a shift away from this public dissociation. Stott, Stone, and Allen (2004)estimated the contribution of human-induced increases in atmospheric concentrations ofgreenhouse gases and other pollutants to the risk of a heat wave surpassing a mean temperaturethreshold: the mean summer temperature in 2003 exceeded their threshold, but no other yearon record did (records started in 1851). They estimated that it is very likely (with greater than 90percent confidence) that human influence has at least doubled the risk of experiencing such anextreme heat wave. 2.2. Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for economy and communities3I the line of Solana (2009), the climate change will not be addressed by international agreementsalone, like the last Climate Conference in Copenhagen (2009). The issues run much deeper thanthat. This is a “man-made problem” which puts our very way of life in many uncertain questions.Formulating a response requires many actors to come together –not just politicians anddiplomats, but scientists, business people, ecologists, students, entrepreneurs, youngentrepreneurs, and leaders in many other fields. The main goal of this essay is writing about thekey-factors of the climate change and the potential impact in society: environment; business;3 This item 2.2 is an summarize of the essay – “Climate Change and Social Order: Risks and Opportunities forBusiness and the Economy? Bridging the gap between climate and society”, present by Eduardo Oliveira in theconference – ‘Challenge the Best’, an interdisciplinary conference on the topic of “Climate Change and Social Order- Evolution or Revolution”, held at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, 17th of May 2010. 6
  7. 7. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Unioneconomy; communities in the globalization context. The emergent phenomenon of climatechange – understood here simultaneously as physical transformation and social object, as amutating hybrid entity in which the strained lines between the natural and the social aredissolving – therefore needs a new examination, or a new social order. “Geopolitics doesn’t stopbecause climate change and other environmental pressures confront the global society” (Paskal,2010).The globalization has increased global shifts of resources, capital and people, and has intensifiedthe competition among places’, as countries, regions and cities, for attention, influence, markets,investments, businesses, entrepreneurs, visitors, talents and significant events. This placecompetition asks for long-term strategies in organizations’ and for the best strategies in order toimprove the local and regional development with respect of the human rights, the environment,with peace and sustainable development of the resources not only in the present, but also forfuture generations. “If we don’t take meaningful and farsighted action now to address climatechange, we are not only failing those who suffer today.We are also putting at risk the well-being of our planet and future generations” (Robinson, 2009).This long-term strategies must be implemented with a community participation. We cannotpursue either in isolation; we need work in cooperation between top leaders, poor countries andsocial actors. One of the fundamental questions in this topic – climate change and social order,in my opinion, is the communities’ participation. For example, the Copenhagen Climate Council4identifies the “Climate Community” as one chance to influence the climate agenda. The “ClimateCommunity” gives the necessary access to insights from and the ability to interact with high-levelclimate experts, opinion makers, decision makers, and business innovators. All this key-actors,this thinkers, the young fresh talents have to work together to find appropriate responses to theconsequences of a changing climate – natural disasters, changing livelihood prospects,migration, political instability and the necessity of global acting.The relationship between climate and society has been dynamic throughout human history andpre-history, a relationship that has been variously elemental, creative and fearful. The relationshiphas now taken a more intimate turn. Human actions, globally aggregated, are changing thecomposition of the atmosphere which alters the functioning of the climate system.Future climates will not be like past climates. We have often worried about this possibility andnow the knowledge claims of science have offered new reasons to be concerned. Humanity is4 URL:, March 2010. 7
  8. 8. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Unionnow firmly embedded within the functioning of the climate system, whilst at the same time theidea of climate change is penetrating and changing society in novel ways (Hulme, 2007).Michael Porter and Claas van der Lindeii wrote about the new conception of the environment-competitiveness relationship. They conclude that relationship, between environmental goals(Business and the Economy) and industrial competitiveness has normally been thought of asinvolving a trade-off between social benefits and private costs.Is imperative do this question – What is the challenge to the main countries? What is thechallenge to the world economic and business leaders? The world needs an evolution orrevolution? They need an entirely new way of thinking about the relationship betweenenvironment, the climate change and economic and business reaction in competitivenessdynamic perspective. The focus should be on relaxing the environment-competitiveness andclimate community with an orientation from pollution control to resource productivity.The economic and business actors have in the hand an opportunity. They can build ecologicalbusiness models, and the way to the success, must involve innovation-based solutions thatpromote both environmentalism and industrial competitiveness. 8
  9. 9. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union3. The European Environment Agency (EEA)The EEA is not a regulatory agency. It is an information-gathering agency like most of theEuropean agencies created since 1990 (Dehousse, 2008 in Martens, 2010: 882).However, the starting point for studying the EEA is that information provided by agencies mayinfluence political decision-making, and the informational role they play may have considerableimplications for their autonomy. Information is not neutral or apolitical since it “structures thedefinition of problems, solutions and causal understandings” (Gornitzka and Sverdrup, 2008: 1 inMartens, 2010: 882).Several scholars who study European agencies have recently highlighted “the multifaceted natureof their institutional surroundings in order to understand their creation and functioning”. Theypoint to different preferences of different actors at different levels of government, including theCommission, the Council, Parliament, Member States and private actors, resulting in amultiplicity of formal control mechanisms (Dehousse, 2008; Gehring and Krapohl, 2007;Kelemen, 2002 in Martens, 2010: 882). 3.1. Mission and valuesThe European Environment Agency (EEA) is a European public body dedicated to providingobjective, reliable and comparable information on the environment. The mission of the EEA:  Ensure that decision-makers and the general public are kept informed about the state and outlook of the environment.The EEA also provides the necessary independent scientific knowledge and technical support toenable the Community and member countries take appropriate measures to protect and improvethe environment as laid down by the Treaty and by successive Community action programmes onthe environment and sustainable development. The EEA works in partnership with governmentdepartments and agencies, international conventions and United Nations (UN) bodies, thescientific community, private sector and civil society. 9
  10. 10. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionThe EEA undertakes a comprehensive range of integrated environmental and thematicassessments. These include a five-yearly state and outlook of the environment report, thematicand sectoral assessments, analyses of the effectiveness of policy measures, forward studies andthe impacts of globalisation on Europes environment and resources. The EEA is an importantsource and custodian of environment-related data and indicators and a key provider ofenvironmental knowledge and information services.The EEA strategy 2009–2013 is the fourth Multi-annual Work Programme of the Agency; it wasadopted by the EEA Management Board through written procedure following its 52nd meeting on26 November 2008 (EEA Strategy 2009–2013 — Multi-annual Work Programme, searched inOctober 2010).The working capacity of the EEA is enhanced by its five European Topic Centres:  Air and Climate Change;  Biological Diversity;  Land Use;  Spatial Information, Water and Sustainable Consumption and Production.The topic centres are distributed across the EEA member countries. The EEA works with anannual programme and an annual budget: Year EU core Non EU Total budget subvention members contribution 2009 34 560 000 5 067 000 39 627 000 2010 35 251 000 5 101 173 40 352 173 2011 35 956 020 5 135 976 41 091 996 2012 36 675 140 5 171 415 41 846 555 2013 37 408 643 5 207 500 42 616 144 Source: EEA Strategy 2009–2013 — Multi-annual Work Programme, October 2010. URL:, October 2010. 3.2. The aim of the European Environment AgencyThe aim of the EEA is to provide European decision-makers and citizens with access to timelyand relevant information and knowledge to provide a sound basis for environmental policies, tohelp answer their questions about the environment in their daily lives and to ensure thatenvironmental thinking and education is brought into the mainstream of decision-making. TheEuropean Environment Agency wants achieve: 10
  11. 11. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union  Continuing to support implementation of Europes environmental legislation through analyses and assessments of Europes environment;  Ensuring continuous access to high quality environmental data, information and services;  Producing integrated environmental assessments and forward studies for Europe increasingly in the global context;  Addressing critical environmental priorities as they arise on the policy agenda;  Improving communications and dissemination to decision-makers and citizens via multi-media, user-friendly, multilingual information. URL:, October 2010.The European citizens agree that the environment has a significant impact on their quality of lifeand that global trends play a significant part in this. They want to see that the environment, aswell as economic and social needs, taken into account in decisions about transport, energy,housing, agriculture, fish, food and health. Businesses are also seeking greater innovation andeco-efficiency to achieve higher environmental standards and maintain their competitiveness inthe economy.Over the past 30 years, according with EEA, the Europeans citizens have seen emissions of airpollutants significantly reduced, production of ozone-layer damaging chemicals cut by 95%,creation of a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Green Paper as policy-actioninstrument), an innovative scheme for carbon trading and offset markets, protection of animalsand plants, improvements in the quality of fresh water and coastal seas and universal access tosafe drinking water. 3.3. The European Environment Agency strategy for 2009–2013“The European Environment Agency is the most efficient way to deliver the products and servicesrequired by the stakeholders. It is difficult to see how the provision of impartial and reliableinformation, could be performed through any of the possible other mechanisms available forEuropean organizations”5.The strategy since 2009 until 2013 of the European Environment Agency is:  Continuing to support the information needs set down in EU and international environmental legislation and especially its 6th Environment Action Programme;5 URL:, October 2010. 11
  12. 12. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union  Providing more timely assessments on how and why the environment is changing and whether environmental policies, including the 6th Environment Action Programme, the EU Sustainable Development Strategy and those in related areas have been effective;  Improving the coordination and dissemination of environmental data and knowledge across Europe. URL:, October 2010.Membership of the EEA is comprised of EU Member States; it is also open to countries that arenot Member States of the European Union. There are now 32 member countries: the 27 EUMember States together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Albania,Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro andSerbia have applied jointly for membership and have already been cooperating with the EEA forseveral years. URL:, October 2010. 12
  13. 13. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union 3.4. The strategic objectivesThe core objective of the EEA will be to produce European, pan-European and regional integratedenvironmental data and indicator sets, assessments and thematic analyses in order to provide asound decision basis for environmental policies in the EU and Member countries and forcooperation with candidate and potential candidate countries and those covered by the EuropeanNeighbourhood Policy.The core objectives, according with the EEA strategy 2009–2013 is the fourth Multi-annual WorkProgramme of the Agency:  Play a key role in the development and implementation of European environment;  Monitor the effectiveness of environmental policies of EU and member countries of the EEA and in candidate and potential candidate countries;  Support the monitoring of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (through assistance for the Sustainable Development Indicators) focusing on core environment-related issues;  Undertake integrated environmental assessments and analyses of the 6th Environment Action Programme and EU Sustainable Development Strategy;;  Provide access to more regularly updated information and where possible near real-time data to improve timeliness of environmental information;  Anticipate new ideas and thinking, especially about ecosystem services, resource use and emerging technologies and innovations;  Develop new web-based services for environmental educational needs;  Help ensure, through effective communications and information services, that environmental thinking is brought into the mainstream of decision-making and the daily lives of European citizens. URL:, October 2010.The EEA, will continue to work intensively with EIONET, cooperating countries and a wide rangeof partner institutions, including European Commission, government departments and agencies,international conventions and UN bodies, the scientific, technical and research communities,private sector and civil society, in order to quality assure relevance and quality of the data,analyses and information that we provide. 13
  14. 14. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionIn this line, the core actions will be:In 2001:  Support environmental reporting within the European Neighbourhood Policy;  Complete a cost of inaction related valuation of damage to ecosystems services and human welfare.In 2012:  Produce an assessment of Europes ecosystem services — Eureca 2012;  Support the EU-wide review of the status of water and groundwater environments;In 2013:  Support the review of the environmental outcomes of the 6th Environment Action Programme and the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. URL:, October 2010.The European Environment Information and Observing Network (EIONET), covering 39 memberand cooperating countries — is the unique partnership between the EEA and its membercountries and is central to the EEAs networking activities. In all there are nearly 400 peopleinvolved in EIONET. 3.5. The Multi-Interpretable EEA RegulationThe regulation establishing the EEA gives few answers with regard to the role the EEA issupposed to play in the EU system. The potential field of work includes factual data gathering aswell as analyzing and assessing effectiveness of policies and supporting specific policy initiatives.The potential constituency includes the Commission, the Council, Parliament, Member States,interest groups and the general public, and the regulation does not provide consistent guidanceon the relative importance that the EEA should attach to each possible constituency (Martens,2010: 884).EEA required a meeting of will between actors of various types; each with their own interests,making the final regulation multi-interpretable. In the words of Simon (1953: 228) there wereseveral «claimants to parenthood».“Yet, upon its launch, the EEA in fact had many tasks to fulfill because, rather than choosingbetween tasks, the Member States and Commission simply added all the tasks that werementioned during the negotiations’” (Martens, 2010: 884). 14
  15. 15. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionIn the line of Martens (2010: 884) the roles of the EEA might develop. Such roles may includeenhancing the ideal of accountability, auditing EU decision-makers and “assuring that citizensknow what officials are doing” (March and Olsen, 1995: 161–162). “As new arguments andinformation are introduced to political discussion, citizens are led to revise not only their choicesbut also their perceptions of themselves, other citizens, and their situation” (March and Olsen,1995: 84).This quotation from Hoornbeek (2000:148 in Martens, 2010: 885) is very curious –“Democracies have never developed a stable solution to the problems involved in balancing theinformation requirements of effective accountability with the confidentiality requirements ofeffective action”. In this line the states that environmental agencies may seek to developinformation for two broad purposes:  The first type of information effort seeks primarily to inform public debate on environmental issues. It does not focus on any particular audience, but rather informs many audiences in an effort to clarify the nature of different environmental problems, participate in the environmental discourse and enhance accountability through name and shame;  The second type of information effort seeks primarily to create environmental information that will direct or justify particular political decision-making, serving certain actors within a specific decision-making process, in an effort to achieve specific results. (Hoornbeek, 2000 in Martens, 2010: 885).The environmental information may differ with regard to how closely it is connected and adjustedto the interests and programmes of relevant policy-makers, how instrumental the information isprovided and used. To state it somewhat bluntly, an information agency may seek to play the roleas a barking watchdog or the role as a loyal lap dog vis-à-vis the political masters. Applying thisbroad distinction as a starting point for our analysis of the role of the EEA, it is possible to claimthat the two questions presented in the introduction are interlinked. The EEA becoming aninsider, becoming a vehicle or tool in the EU decision-making system, would imply a closer linkand dependence upon specific policy-makers, and less freedom to act autonomously and makedecisions on its own terms. 15
  16. 16. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union 3.6. The role and autonomy of the EEAThe EEA, as an information agency may seek to inform public debate, shed light on what policy-makers are doing and enhance accountability through name and shame. Or it may seek to createinformation that will direct or justify particular political decision-making, serving certain actorswithin a specific decision-making process. “As we recall, an information agency may seek to playthe role of a barking watchdog or the role of a loyal lap dog within a political system”, wroteMartens (2010: 893).Still is essential to the EEA to have a salient voice that might make a difference with regard tohow people assess and think about environmental issues in Europe. Producing information to thegeneral public – to students, to researchers, to everyone – is part of the core, the essence of theEEA’s identity. EEA has become involved both in policy formulation and in implementationreflecting to a large extent the policy agenda of DG Environment. In the words of one Commissionofficial: “that gives positive motivation for the agency and gives them a very concrete role” inMartens (2010: 893).The EEA employees have been and still are aware that they are not part of the Commissionservice. They pursue issues they find important, and they have in many ways strengthened theirpublic voice and visibility. Informing the general public in an effort to clarify the nature ofenvironmental issues has been, and still is, part of their role and mission. At the same time, theyhave gradually become a more predictable, stable and loyal partner to the Commission, and theycontribute substantially both in the drafting and in the implementation phase (Martens 2010:893).The EEA and Climate Change According with the EEA Strategy 2009–2013 — Multi-annual WorkProgramme, the human activities are expected to continue despite strong action to reducegreenhouse gas emissions. Even if the EU target of limiting temperature increase to not morethan + 2 °C is achieved, it still means that there will be many impacts. Climate change is anadditional pressure on natural and human systems, which are already under increasingpressures from globalisation and rising consumption patterns across the world.In 2008, the EEA in partnership with the Joint Research Centre and World Health OrganisationEurope produced its climate impacts report based on more than 40 indicators covering physical,biological and health impacts. The conclusions were that in every aspect, the changes associatedwith climate change were widespread and increasing. Data from the various global observing and 16
  17. 17. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Unionin-situ measurement programmes also show that we are experiencing conditions outside themost pessimistic estimates from the IPCC 2007 report. 3.7. Decision – making in process action (legislation)European environmental policy is currently undergoing a major transition. At the supranationallevel, both the Maastricht treaty and the Fifth Environmental Action Programme herald a new eradominated by the search for more flexible and efficient instruments to replace traditional forms ofregulation. At the national level, this search has been under way for some time in many of therespective member states of the European Union.The European Commission proposed its carbon/energy tax. The government published its firstWhite Paper on the environment, This Common Inheritance (Department of the Environment1990). In the face of all these developments, opposition parties and environmental groups werecompelled to face up to the changing agenda. 17
  18. 18. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionFollowing approval by the European Commission of the proposal for a Council Directiveintroducing a tax on carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions and energy (European Commission 1992),the debate in Italy about environmental taxation was fuelled by the presentation of the WhitePaper on Fiscal Reform by the finance minister in December 1994 (Ministero delle Finanze1994). A few days later the government resigned. Consequently, there has been no officialdiscussion within Parliament of this document, but none the less the White Paper represents theclimax of a lengthy political and cultural debate, and can be considered an effective basis for afruitful discussion about the future of the Italian fiscal system—even if the structure of theproposed reforms is sometimes controversial (Fossati and Giannini 1996). This remark isparticularly true when environmental.The European Community is a full Party to the UNFCCC and a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol,and is one of the 39 Parties5 that have accepted a quantitative absolute limit on emissions andmay therefore participate in international emissions trading under the Protocol. In May 1999, theCommission adopted a Communication on climate change that highlighted the need for a“sustained policy response”. The Communication states that observed data show that carbondioxide emissions are increasing, and that “Unchecked, this trend means that the requirement ofArticle 3(2) of the Kyoto Protocol to show “demonstrable progress” by 2005 and the EUcommitment of –8% will not be met”.A major challenge is to ensure that emissions trading complements and is compatible with otherpolicies and measures. In the international negotiations, the EU insists on the need for theindustrialised world to put in place domestic policies and measures as the main means of action.Within the EU many such measures, such as energy taxes, regulatory or technical standards andenvironmental agreements are already in place. 18
  19. 19. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union 3.7.1. White paperThe White Paper accepts the suggestion put forward in the Commission’s proposal of introducinga carbon/energy tax with revenue amounting to about L10 trillion. This additional revenue couldbe put back into the economy by cutting the level of other tax rates in order to exploit a doubledividend in the manner outlined by the Delors Report: the first dividend is provided by the curbingof CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, the second by the diminution of the deadweight.Commission’s White Paper in environmental issues:  European Transport Policy for 2010: Time to Decide;  Strategy for a future chemicals policy;  Adapting to climate change: towards a European framework for action.The White Paper’s as the tree above embraces the idea of recycling the revenue through a cut inpersonal income-tax rates. Hence, households will be compensated for the increase in energytaxation, while firms will be obliged to face the increased burden of the new taxes targeted atenhanced environmental protection. The political motivation behind this choice—which explainswhy the European suggestion to use the revenue for cutting rates of social security contributionshas not been adopted—is probably linked to the fact that the White Paper has been prepared bythe Ministry of Finance, which is not responsible for the social-security contributions and wantedto exploit the political dividend of cutting income-tax rates.Since the early 1990s there has been an increase in the use of environmental levies and chargesin the member states, for example on fertilisers, pesticides, packaging, and batteries. Thisincrease has in many ways led to a substantial improvement in attaining environmentalobjectives.At national level, there are interesting initiatives, along the lines proposed in the 1993 WhitePaper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, advocating a reduction of indirect labourcosts (about 1–2% of GDP), to be financed by other taxes like carbon and energy taxation, orenergy taxes in general.The sense or otherwise of negotiated environmental agreements should be analysed in thecontext of a number of logical requirements of effective environmental policy:  It enforces transparency and accountability.  It ensures that market forces work for you.  It provokes creativity. 19
  20. 20. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union  It creates flexibility.  It exhibits coherent design.First, improving the environmental performance of industry demands transparency andaccountability. 3.7.2. Green paper Green Paper on greenhouse gas emissions trading within the European UnionThe Green Paper on greenhouse gas emissions trading within the European Union is intended tolaunch a discussion on greenhouse gas emissions trading within the European Union, and on therelationship between emissions trading and other policies and measures to address climatechange.Under the Kyoto Protocol, the European Community committed itself to reducing its emissions ofgreenhouse gases by 8% during the period 2008-2012 in comparison with their levels in 1990. Inpractice, this will require an estimated reduction of 14% compared to “business as usual”forecasts1. Emissions trading, both internally within the Community and externally with otherindustrialised countries, will help reduce the cost to the Community of respecting itscommitments. Together with other polices and measures, emissions trading will be an integraland major part of the Community’s implementation strategy. It is the Commission’s belief thatthe Community as a whole will need to use all the tools at its disposal to respect its internationalcommitments, and the sooner concrete steps are taken the better. The EU is currently preparingfor ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which it wishes to see enter into force by 2002.Emissions trading, whether domestic or international, is a scheme whereby entities such ascompanies are allocated allowances for their emissions. Companies that reduce their emissionsby more than their allocated allowance can sell their “surplus” to others who are not able toreach their target so easily. This trading does not undermine the environmental objective, sincethe overall amount of allowances is fixed. Rather, it enables cost-effective implementation of theoverall target and provides incentives to invest in environmentally sound technologies.Emissions trading are a new instrument for environmental protection within the EU, it isimportant to gain experience in its implementation before the international emissions tradingscheme starts in 2008. There is a good case for the European Community and its Member 20
  21. 21. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionStates to prepare them selves by commencing an emission trading scheme within theCommunity by 2005.The Commission believes that a coherent and co-ordinated framework for implementingemissions trading covering all Member States would provide the best guarantee for a smoothfunctioning internal emissions market as compared to a set of unco-ordinated national emissionstrading schemes.The Commission believes that a Community approach is necessary to ensure competition is notdistorted within the internal market. Different national emissions trading systems could raiseserious difficulties concerning state aid and new companies entering into the market.The European Commission, after the information from EEA, made the Green Paper:  Adapting to climate change in Europe – options for EU action;This situation would raise uncertainty both for Member States and firms. Moreover, thoseproblems are likely to worsen further in the context of the enlargement of the Community. Thestrength and environmental integrity of any emissions trading regime will largely depend upon itscompliance provisions and a robust enforcement regime. An effective functioning of such aregime requires a certain degree of harmonisation of the rules of monitoring, reporting andverification.This Green Paper constitutes the start of a process of exploring these issues. Succinct reactionsand opinions are requested, focused on the questions contained in this document. These areinvited to be made by 15 September 2000 so that the Community’s implementation strategy canbe developed in the light of these opinions immediately after the Sixth Conference of the Partiesthat will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 13 to 24 November 2000.This Green Paper is the start of a consultation process which will allow all stakeholders, bothgovernmental and non-governmental, to give their opinions on how the EU should strike the rightbalance in the use of emissions trading.The Kyoto Protocol has put emissions trading on the EU agenda. This is a new instrument forEuropean climate change policy. Emissions trading, both within the EU and between the EU andthe rest of the industrialised world, will become an important element of the Community’simplementation strategy for the Kyoto Protocol.Member States and the Community need to prepare their strategies for implementing the KyotoProtocol, and reflect further on how emissions trading fit into their climate strategies. In this 21
  22. 22. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Unioncontext, a debate should be started on the European Community dimension in emissions trading,including the potential impact on the internal market. In particular the involvement of companieswill inevitably raise issues related to state aid and fair competition in respect of which theCommunity unquestionably has a role to play. It should also be ensured that Member Stateinitiatives do not also create undue barriers to the freedom of establishment within the internalmarket.Consultation on the basis of this Green Paper, even if focused on starting emissions tradingwithin the European Union before the year 2008, may provide valuable insights that can be fedinto the United Nations negotiating process. Better understanding of the key issues andinteractions with domestic policies and measures will help ensure realistic expectations fordecisions on emissions trading at the 6th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Conventionon Climate Change (COP6), which will take place in The Hague from 13 to 24 November 2000. 22
  23. 23. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union4. ConclusionFor almost two decades both national polls and in-depth studies of global warming perceptionshave shown that people commonly conflate weather and global climate change. Not only arecurrent weather events such as heat waves, droughts, or cold spells treated as anecdotalevidence for or against global warming, but weather changes such as warmer weather andincreased storm intensity and frequency are the consequences most likely to come to mind tomost people when thinking about climate change.Distinguishing weather from climate remains a challenge for many. The problem with thisweather ‘‘framing’’ of global warming is that it may inhibit behavioral and policy change inseveral ways. Weather is understood as natural, on an immense scale, not subject to humaninfluence. These attributes contribute to perceptions that global warming, like weather, isuncontrollable. In this chapter we presented a synopsis of the evidence for these perceptionsfrom public opinion polls, focus groups, and cognitive studies regarding people’s mental modelsof, and ‘‘frames’’ for, global warming and climate change, and the role weather plays in these.The available research suggests that priming people with a model of global warming as beingcaused by a ‘‘thickening blanket of carbon dioxide’’ that ‘‘traps heat’’ in the atmosphere solvessome of these communications problems and makes it more likely that people will supportpolicies to address global warming (Bostrom and Lashof 2007: 40).The public, policy-makers, the scientific community and politicians are all benefactors of workcarried out by the Agency, and this trend is set to increase; climate change, biodiversity loss,water and air quality are all issues that invoke heated debate.I appreciate that this will only continue if at its heart is a forward-looking EEA, which over the next5 years is providing innovative information which is timely, relevant and robust.It is of particular importance in the period 2009–2013 that the Agency, with the help of itsScientific Committee members, continues to investigate emerging issues for future researchplanning and identifies scientific gaps and foresight on environmental research both at aEuropean and national level, which could be having implication for the future of the diverseenvironmental challenges Europe is facing today.As future steps the will support the:  Eurostats work on the Sustainable Development Indicators;  Monitor progress towards policy targets;  Undertake regular effectiveness evaluations of the EEA; 23
  24. 24. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European Union  Expand the EEAs communications to the public, policy-makers and experts via multi-media, user friendly, multilingual information particularly in the areas of climate change, biodiversity, ecosystems and the greening of the economy. URL:, October 2010.The EEA has learned from experience during almost 15 years in the EU business. It has graduallydeveloped standard procedures of processing and providing information, and the actors involvedhave been learning to know each other and co-operate – over time. The EEA on the other handhas gradually learned to play the role of an insider, it has learned the logic of appropriateness ofthe EU decision-making system, and gradually adjusted its public tone and performance. Hence,the two institutions have built a relationship based on confidence and partnership – over time.The “EEA has searched for its own mission, role and identity and gradually developed standard-operating procedures of processing and providing information, as well as developing stablepatterns of inter-institutional co-operation” (Martens 2010: 898).The EEA on the other hand has gradually learned to play and enjoy the insider role, anddeveloped into an important and viable institution in the EU administrative system, balancing andmediating the ability to have a credible voice on the one hand and the need for stability,partnership and a secure resource supply on the other.“Robust, far-sighted policy requires better, more detailed information. We have made a lot ofprogress in this direction. But we are only beginning to realise the full potential of environmentalinformation. The EEA seeks to drive technology, particularly the internet, in new directions interms of its interaction with the environment through the Shared Environmental InformationSystem for Europe (SEIS)” Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, 2010. 24
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  29. 29. Working paper in Political and Decision-Making in European UnionWorking paper by,My name is Eduardo Oliveira. I am 28 years old and I am from Portugal. I am doing a MSc. inMarketing and Strategic Management in the School of Economics and Management, University ofMinho, final year. My dissertation is about “Networks and Place Branding: Minho as InternationalBrand”. Until December, I will stay in Malaysia as exchange student in University Sains Malaysia(USM) with a scholarship from the European Union. In USM, I attend courses in InternationalPolitical Economy and Political and Decision Making in European Union and also courses inMarketing. I reserved my free time to do some research in destination marketing and placebranding, my favourite topics, and to improve my skills in global issues, like climate change,sustainable development and explore the most controversial topics in the international politicaleconomy context. My main goal is to understand the economic and local markets, theconsumers’ needs in the global economy and search for new ways to achieve a sustainableworld.Email address: eduardo.hsoliveira@gmail.comURL: Malaysia: +601 25 792 867In Portugal: +351 91 70 60 153Title of the present working paper:“Decision-making process regarding climate change regulation in European Union 2009 - 2013:The role of European Environment Agency”.Supervisor: Professor Dr.ª Noreha, School of Social Science, University Sains Malaysia.Date: October 2010.Host Institution: School of Social Science, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia.Home Institution: School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Portugal.Programme: ERASMUS Mundus programme, European Union; 29