Whither Commissioner for Climate Change?
Published 29th October 2009 - 4 comments - 1034 views -
Reinhilde Veugelers supports the creation of a new Commissioner post for climate change. She says that to keep the costs of climate change adaptation and mitigation ‘manageable', we will need a portfolio of technologies. However, to switch on the private-sector innovation machine, government intervention is needed. According to Veugelers, a pro-innovation approach to climate change requires a change in current EU policymaking. Creating the new portfolio would give a clear and strong political signal to governments and the private sector that work on limiting climate change is a priority. Additionally, much of the climate change-related work to be done at the EU level cannot easily be combined with other responsibilities. The third reason to have a dedicated climate-change post is that a pro-innovation approach requires intense co-ordination across policy areas such as energy, competition policy, the internal market, research and trade. The position of Mrs. Veugelers is developed in length in the Bruegel’s Memos to the new Commission
Claude Turmes does not agree. He believes that the idea of a dedicated climate-change commissioner is a gimmick that could become a dangerous Trojan horse. He fears that the environment commissioner would be sidelined, with a dramatically reduced portfolio. In a knock-on effect outside the Commission, member state environment ministers would see their junior position further compromised at a devalued EU Environment Council. Turmes believes that supporters of the idea for a climate change portfolio want to reduce the EU's climate policy solely to a fight for a global cap-and-trade regime. An empowered environment commissioner, on the other hand, could fight for the policies most effective for climate, economy and green jobs, and integrate EU climate policies into other policy areas, such as air pollution and biodiversity. He further claims that competences in the area of climate-change policy are best entrusted to those institutions that have proven they are willing to go at least some way to meeting the enormous challenge faced by the European Union.
Please note that both contributors do believe climate change is a serious challenge. I somehow miss the European Rush Limbaugh.
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