Analysis & Opinions - Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship

Transatlantic Environmental Policy

| June 03, 2019

As part of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship’s (PETR) 2019 European Election event series, Muriel Rouyer, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy and Robert N. Stavins, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, discussed transatlantic advances in environmental policy, as well as the role the issue of climate change would play in the EU parliament vote taking place on May 23-26, in a conversation with Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, Executive Director of PETR on April 30th, 2019.

They also discussed the US’ position in international climate agreements, and in particular the role that the Trump administration has played shaping environmental policies in and outside the country.

“Ironically, President Donald Trump was the one putting the Paris Climate Agreement into action: within just one year (not 7 years, as with the Kyoto protocol), the agreement was put into force because everyone knew that President Trump would arrive,” said Robert Stavins.

“The US, despite actions of Donald Trump, still maintains many environmental regulations. And I don’t think that this government is interested in suppressing them. What this administration is interested in is announcing that they will repel environmental regulations.”

They went on to highlight the differences in political climates around environmental issues on both sides of the Atlantic.

“In the US, some words like “Green New Deal” are much more politically loaded than in Europe. In the EU, the Green parties have been sitting in national and the EU parliament for a long time, which creates a much more cooperative environment to discuss climate-related issues,” said Muriel Rouyer.

In the context of the upcoming European elections. She added that “we now see more central parties putting the environment at the forefront of their programs. There are no more decent left-wing parties (with scores above 15%) competing. And now, you can see these left parties tapping on issues of just environmental transition in their campaigns.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Lecomte, Carole.“Transatlantic Environmental Policy.” Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, June 3, 2019.

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