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EU Decarbonization under Geopolitical Pressure: Changing Paradigms and Implications for Energy and Climate Policy


This paper aims to assess the impact of EU energy and climate policy as a response to Russia’s war in Ukraine on the EU decarbonization enterprise. It showcases how the Russian invasion was a crunch point that forced the EU to abandon its liberal market dogma and embrace in practice an open strategic autonomy approach. This led to an updated energy and climate policy, with significant changes underpinning its main pillars, interdependence, diversification, and the focus of market regulation and build-up. The reversal of enforced interdependence with Russia and the legislative barrage to support and build-up a domestic clean energy market unlocks significant emission reduction potential, with measures targeting energy efficiency, solar, wind, and hydrogen development; an urban renewable revolution and electricity and carbon market reforms standing out. Such positive decarbonization effects, however, are weakened by source and fuel diversification moves that extend to coal and shale gas, especially when leading to an infrastructure build-up and locking-in gas use in the mid-term. Despite these caveats, the analysis overall vindicates the hypothesis that geopolitics constitutes a facilitator and accelerator of EU energy transition.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United Kingdom

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