The Covid-19 crisis: a critical juncture for EU climate policy development?

Published Open Access in: Journal of European Integration, Volume 42, 2020 – Issue 8: Pandemic Politics and European Union responses
Authors: Claire Dupont, Sebastian Oberthür, Ingmar von Homeyer


“The EU has demonstrated increasing commitment to combating climate change. In December 2019, the European Commission published the European Green Deal (EGD) – an evolving, overarching strategy that aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Just as the plans were underway to implement the EGD, the Covid-19 crisis hit. We ask whether it is likely that the Covid-19 crisis represents a critical juncture for EU climate policy, and why? Experience from previous economic crises suggests that climate policy may be set aside. In 2020, the EU’s crisis response seems rather to advance EU climate policy, at least on paper. Given the potential for transformational change already embedded in the EGD, we suggest that additional positive effects of the Covid-19 crisis may not add up to a critical juncture. We reflect on the role of Commission entrepreneurship and the politicisation of climate change and climate policy to explain this outcome.”

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