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The Transition Towards Decarbonization: A Legal and Policy Exploration of the European Union

31 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2016  

Rafael Leal-Arcas

Queen Mary University of London - School of Law

Date Written: February 29, 2016

Abstract

Decarbonization is the final and visionary goal of European Union (EU) energy policy. The EU has traditionally conveyed the dashing resolution to lead the strife against climate change. In that sense, the EU shelters the hope that its example will whet other regions around the globe to follow suit. This paper argues that such a grandiose aspiration could cause a new industrial revolution based on vanguard clean and low-carbon technologies that may boost the EU’s recovery from the economic crisis and launch the vital conversion to a more sustainable energy system. To that end, the EU has set itself the ultimate objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a towering 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050. This decarbonization aim will come at a cost, similar to a hotel analogy: a five-star hotel is much better, but more expensive, than a one-star hotel. By conceptual analogy, renewable energy is a much better, but more expensive, option to generate energy than coal. The paper concludes that the potential for solar energy is phenomenal and that the greatest result of investing in low-carbon technologies will be to become increasingly energy independent. So there is hope and great business opportunities.

Keywords: decarbonization, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, EU emissions trading scheme, aviation, shipping

Suggested Citation

Leal-Arcas, Rafael, The Transition Towards Decarbonization: A Legal and Policy Exploration of the European Union (February 29, 2016). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 222/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2739911

Rafael Leal-Arcas (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London - School of Law ( email )

67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccls.qmul.ac.uk/staff/lealarcas.html

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