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Policy Brief

Beyond coal: facilitating the transition in Europe

Europe has a dirty energy secret: coal is producing a quarter of the electricity, but three-quarters of the emissions. The EU should propose that its member countries speedily phase out coal and put in place a scheme to guarantee the social welfare of coal miners who stand to lose their jobs, making a better use of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF)

By: Date: November 23, 2017 Topic: Energy & Climate

The issue

The European Union energy system is becoming greener and more efficient, but its most polluting component – coal – continues to provide a quarter of its electricity. This is bad for the climate, the environment and human health. A number of EU countries continue to support coal politically for energy security and socio-economic reasons. The energy security argument is understandable, but the feasibility of the energy transition away from coal should not be doubted. Several countries have already successfully phased out coal without compromising energy security or competitiveness. The socio-economic argument is illusory. Coal mining employment in Europe does not represent a sizable issue either at national or regional level.

Policy challenge

The EU should propose that its member countries speedily phase out coal. At the same time, it should put in place a scheme to guarantee the social welfare of coal miners who stand to lose their jobs. The EU does not need to establish a new fund for this; it only needs to make better use of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). For the post-2020 period, the EGF should be transformed into a ‘European Globalisation and Climate Adjustment Fund’ with a higher budget overall, of which €150 million per year should be used to support coal mining regions. By mobilising 0.1 percent of its total budget, the EU could provide a significant incentive to coal-reliant member states to phase out coal, generating substantial benefits for the climate, the environment and human health.

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Podcast

Podcast

Brexit consequences for EU climate and energy policy

Bruegel fellow Georg Zachmann joins Richard Tol, professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Sussex, and Pieter-Willem Lemmens, head of analysis at the climate policy think-tank Sandbag, for this episode of 'The Sound of Economics', to discuss the impact of Brexit on climate and energy policy in the European Union.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 15, 2018
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Is it a Transatlantic, Transpacific or Eurasian global economy?

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Past Event

Past Event

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This meeting will build on Bruegel’s recent report for the European Parliament (link) and will consist of two sessions. The first session will discuss the impact of Brexit on the EU energy sector, with a special focus on the consequences of Brexit for the Irish energy system. The second session will look at the impact of Brexit in terms of […]

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Past Event

Past Event

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Past Event

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Opinion

The clock is ticking: Ukraine’s last chance to prevent Nord Stream 2

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Past Event

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External Publication

European Parliament

The Impact of Brexit on the EU Energy System

What will be the impact of Brexit on the EU energy system? With or without the UK, the EU will be able to complete its market, to achieve its climate and energy targets with feasible readjustments, and to maintain supply security

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By: Uri Dadush Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 7, 2017
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