Bruegel Debate on Decarbonization Policies

19 Feb 2019

Read on Twitter:

Second @Bruegel_org debate ongoing on decarbonization policies for net-zero emissions. With @JMGlachant (@FSR_Energy), Jos Delbeke (@EU_Commission former DG Energy), Dolf Gielen (@IRENA ) and @GeorgZachmann. Live notes:

Jos Delbeke (@EU_Commission) gave an overview of historical EU policy developments and results, proving success with ‘decoupling per unit of GDP’-argument, and counter-argues that international trade would cancel decoupling out. Which [acacdemic] source is he using?

Jos Delbeke (@EU_Commission) further mentioned the need to increase ambitions. To go from a historical 0.5% decrease/year in CO2 emissions to currently 1.5%, and above 2% in the future.

Jos Delbeke (@EU_Commission) went into distributional effects of EU ETS, and argued that the EU is doing its part by redistributing 12 % [2 to 3 billion] of EU ETS auction revenues. Comment here on national use of ETS funds [Belgian/Flemish example]:

Questions in this remain: -> Company support at member state level (using ETS revenues) -> lower “efficiency” of policy? -> Why not using norms instead of market? -> Reflect on carbon leakage legislation

@GeorgZachmann on importance of distributional effects: design policies for poor income households (no means to cope with norms, don’t benefit from long term investm.), no trade-off between climate-policy and equity: both important. Also pointed at windfall profits in EU ETS.

Dolf Gielen (@IRENA) mentioned new @IRENA report with innovation briefs, as well as recent progress in decarbonisation [currently 25 % RE in final energy, 32 % in elec. power gen.: this has go to 55% (2030) and 85% (2050)]. Importance of electrification and further acceleration.

Things that came up in the discussion were problem of unequal taxation of energy [aviation vs. public transport energy tax] and redistribution [@ThPellerin]. Jos Delbeke agreed on problem of taxiation of aviation, but pointed towards responsability of @icao

@GeorgZachmann mentioned # of incentivising capital owners or penalise users, both having different redistributional effects. And that some policies with strong distr. effects are politically easily accepted: isconnect between redistributional effects and real policies.

Lastly, @GeorgZachmann mentioned the lack of transparency and need to get consumer organisations on board. See also: (Better Regulation Carbon Leakage input constitution) and (representation in EU Climate Change Expert Group)

The full debate is recorded and can be seen now at