An Analysis of the European Union Climate Policy: Governance, Domestic Politics and Policy Outcomes

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This dissertation follows a three-article format, and each article corresponds to one chapter. Chapter 1 investigates the autonomy of the European Union through an analy-sis of the impact of powerful member-states and convergence on the enforcement of climate legislation. In the empirical analysis, I investigate whether and how powerful member states and member states whose interests converge with the EU affect en-forcement. The dependent variable describes a key enforcement measure, the total number of infringement investigations issued by the Climate Action Directorate Gen-eral. The independent variables measure power and convergence. Results show that the EU enforces its climate policy against powerful member states and member states with convergent interests, suggesting that the EU is autonomous in the climate area. Chapter 2 examines the effects of the government’s ideology on the stringency envi-ronmental legislation across EU member-states. The main objective is to investigate whether leftist governments increase environmental policy stringency. I employ data on the price of environmental regulations and governments’ ideological composition. I perform pooled OLS regression models with Driscoll and Kraay standard errors and re-sults suggest that the presence of left parties on member-states’ legislatures is associat-ed with increases in environmental policy stringency. Chapter 3 investigates the extent to which environmental policies adopted by 20 of the world’s largest economies have promoted environmental quality in the period between 1990 and 2015. The chapter examines the effect of environmental regulations on GHG emissions. I estimate OLS PCSE regressions. Results suggest that the relative stringency of a country’s environmen-tal policy is associated with improvements in environmental quality. In the first two chapters, different aspects of environmental policies are the dependent variables, or, in other words, I study the effect of different variables on environmental policies. Never-theless, in the third, environmental policies become the independent variable and their impact on GHG emissions, one of the key goals of contemporary environmental policies, is investigated.

European Union, GHG emission, environmental policy, European Commission, compliance, enforcement, infringement procedure investigation, left parties, right parties, environmental policy stringency