Futuribles Journal n° 388

Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Europe, Energy and Climate: From Hope to Uncertainty, 2008-12


In the current context of economic and financial crisis, the attention of citizens in France, as in many other European countries, is focussed above all on economic and social questions (purchasing power, employment, housing etc.). This means that environmental considerations are increasingly downplayed, as are energy issues —though to a lesser extent, given their economic impact. However, the questions of future energy prospects and combating climate change are just as pressing now as they have ever been. Some argue that they might even serve as levers to restart economic growth. It is a very good time, then, for Jacques Lesourne to be summarizing the situation on energy and climate that prevails within the EU.

How is European policy with regard to energy and global warming organized (the overall architecture, the objectives, the legal instruments etc.)? What are the major events that have occurred in the last five years that have impacted significantly on these fields? Has European policy borne fruit where energy and the climate are concerned? This article strives to provide answers to all these questions, while stressing the degree to which the increasing number of decisions taken at member-state level without Europe-wide consultation is leading to harmful incoherence and is casting doubt on the EU’s capacity to remain a leader in the worldwide struggle against global warming. And this leads to other questions which are crucial for the future, regarding the best way of organizing this European energy policy at the national, EU or international level, while not failing to pay attention to the main parties concerned: namely, European consumers.

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