Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2011

Green growth as necessity and liability: The political economy of a low-carbon energy systems transformation in the European Union

Mark Huberty

May 2011

Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy


In the last decade, energy systems transformation has become the new and unheralded frontier of European deepening. Starting in 1996, the European Union mandated the liberalization and integration of national energy systems, put a price on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, established binding targets for renewable energy adoption, mandated the breakup of state energy monopolies, and sponsored the creation of EU-level regulatory and standards-setting bodies for energy infrastructure and markets. Most recently, the Europe 2020 program has established enforceable goals for the integration, liberalization, and decarbonization of the European electricity supply system, and ambitious but aspirational targets in energy efficiency.