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EU expenditure to support transitions to a low carbon economy
Iain Begg
EU-Consent EU-Budget Working Paper No. 9
May 2009

A shift to a low carbon economy is now accepted to be necessary to halt a trend towards global warming that, if unchecked, risks causing considerable social and economic damage. Achieving such a shift will require substantial public investment and will, in turn, call for a concerted financing effort from all levels of government, including the EU level.
There are standard and accepted economic arguments for assigning spending competences to the EU level, many of which are especially apposite for countering climate change. Yet political economy considerations often intrude to make a restructuring of the EU budget difficult to attain. The aim of this paper is to discuss how the EU budget might boost its contribution to the funding effort as part of a strategy for countering climate change, what priorities should be set for EU level spending as opposed to other levels of government, and what sorts of public goods the budget ought to fund. The paper sets out a number of principles for moving forward, and discusses scenarios and possible 'package deals' that would facilitate a greater contribution of the EU budget to these long-term challenges.

  1. Introduction
  2. EU Context
  3. Finding and funding solutions
  4. Technology options
  5. The political economy of the EU budget
  6. Identifying options for the EU budget: the shopping-list
  7. Scenarios for expenditure
  8. Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Annex 1 Sources of emissions
Download /library/papers/EU-Budget_wp9.pdf