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Politics in the European Union

Politics in the European Union (5th edn)

Simon Bulmer, Owen Parker, Ian Bache, Stephen George, and Charlotte Burns
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date: 26 October 2021

p. 41422. Environment and Climatelocked

p. 41422. Environment and Climatelocked

  • Simon Bulmer, Simon BulmerProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Owen Parker, Owen ParkerLecturer in European Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Ian Bache, Ian BacheProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Stephen GeorgeStephen GeorgeEmeritus Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  •  and Charlotte BurnsCharlotte BurnsProfessor, University of Sheffield

Abstract

This chapter examines the evolution of the European Union’s (EU) environmental policy. The environment is a relatively new policy area of the EU. It was not officially created until 1973 and acquired a sound legal basis in the Treaties only with the passage of the Single European Act (SEA) in 1987. When the EU was established, environmental issues were low on the political agenda. However, they have become increasingly important at both national and European levels, and there is now a comprehensive environmental policy at the EU level and the EU has developed a reputation as an environmental leader in international environmental diplomacy, especially on climate change. The chapter first explains the main drivers for the development of the EU’s environmental policy, before discussing recent developments, and some of the major issues of current concern. It concludes by evaluating the theoretical leverage of the key integration theories for explaining and critiquing this policy sector.

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