Timo Karl, 6 "Intergovernmentalism" and "Multi-Level-Game" – An Analysis of the Governance system of the European Climate Framework 2030 in:

Wolfram Hilz, Rafal Ulatowski (Ed.)

Energy Policy in Europe, page 81 - 94

Internal Dimensions and External Perspectives

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4388-2, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7373-5,

Series: Bonner Studien zum globalen Wandel, vol. 25

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
81 6 "Intergovernmentalism" and "Multi-Level- Game" – An Analysis of the Governance system of the European Climate Framework 2030 Timo Karl 1 Introduction Theories in political science regarding the decision-making processes in the European Union (EU) are mainly divided between those which focus on the role of governments or other supranational actors (Neofunctionalism) and those which focus on the interconnection of all relevant actors and their respective actions that transgress to all different levels (Multi-Level-Governance). The political process used towards sculpting the European Climate Framework 2030 shows that we need a new, contemporary perspective on governance that combines these two traditional theory perspectives. From an intergovernmental perspective, the central question in the formulation process of the climate framework 2030 is: How was it possible for the ecological progressive state actors to announce the climate framework 2030 (with quite ambitious targets) at this point at the summit of the European Council in October 2014? One possible option to find answers to this question is to enlarge the mentioned theories by reference to parts of the “Two-Level-Game” as formulated by Robert D. Putnam. In the concrete case the Level- Game was happening between the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) level and the European level. As the German government was acting as a mediator in many climate and 82 energy related questions, it makes sense to focus the actor analysis in this paper on the German Government. Therefore, the analysis deals with the climate framework 2030 out of the foreign politics perspective of the German Government as a question of strategic management in the context of international incentives and constraints (by reference to the Level-Game), while leaving out the questions of entanglement in domestic politics.1 2 Multi-Level-Governance in European energy and climate politics For the purpose of this paper, the term Multi-Level-Governance needs to be precisely defined in this distinct context, as the governance term in political science is commonly used as a kind of “catchall”-term. In this paper specifically, the term governance is based on the definition by Arthur Benz. He explains the Multi-Level- Governance approach with the interconnections between the national, the European, and the international level, a differentiation from which he then deduced the need for state governments to find new (non-hierarchical) decision models. This also applies for the European climate and energy policy. The interactions between the governments on the European and national levels follow formal rules.2 While a common integrated European energy policy does not currently exist, the Treaty of Lisbon created a special competence for the EU in this field. Therefore, out of a perspective of Multi-Level-Governance, European climate and energy policy is a very interesting policy field. On the basis of article 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU is allowed to intervene in all cases related to the fields of climate politics, environment protection, competitiveness, and supply security. Still, the respective member states retain the authority to design their own national energy systems. In the institutional system of the EU, this leads to conflicts of jurisdiction between the institutions that represent the communitization within the 1 See Brummer, Klaus & Oppermann, Kai: Außenpolitikanalyse, München, 2019, p. 113. 2 See Benz, Arthur: Multilevel-Governance: Governance in Mehrebenensystemen, in: Benz, Arthur & Dose, Nicolai (eds.): Governance – Regieren in komplexen Regelsystemen, Wiesbaden, 2010, p. 112. 83 EU and those which represent the self-determination of the member states.3 The interconnection and interdependence between the international UNFCCC process and the climate and energy politics of the EU on the other side is following rules, which are mostly informal and follow the classical logic of intergovernmental negotiations. The design of the European climate framework 2030 can only be explained through an analysis of interconnected intergovernmental negotiations. The central institution responsible for the adoption of the climate framework 2030 was the European Council. To avoid nondissolvable blockades between the institutions, the European Council was tasked with defining overarching strategic targets of the EU, such as those concerning the climate framework, for example. However, the European Council has to decide strategic targets unanimously. Theoretical approaches, as the “science of muddling through” from Charles E. Lindblom,4 indicate that such institutional settings lead to a political governance in which wide-ranging decisions are unthinkable. Considering how imperative it was for the EU to formulate a climate framework that meets the 2 degrees Celsius global temperature target requirement, especially considering their crucial leadership role in the upcoming climate negotiations and their unwillingness to compromise it, small incremental political steps would have barely been adequate. On the other hand, many eastern European countries were faced with economic and political crises and due to these they were consequently not able to agree to further substantial decisions in climate politics, which would have challenged the domestic economies. The threat posed by a lack of ambitions regarding the voting procedure in the European Council is underlined in an article by Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf, who describes the least ambitious member state as being the most influential in defining the climate ambitions of the EU in general. “The least ambitious Member State would re- 3 See Michel, Franz: Die Umsetzung europäischer Energiepolitik – Eine Multiple-Stream-Analyse am Fallbeispiel der Energieeffizienzrichtlinie, Stuttgart, 2015, p. 14. 4 See Lindblom, Charles E.: The Science of “Muddling Through”, in: Public Administration Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, 1959, pp. 79-88. 84 tain a de facto veto and the EU’s ability to act would be reduced considerably.”5 Against this background, the question arises how the acting of governments in the intergovernmental negotiations was helping to prevent a blockade between the member states in the European Council during the negotiations for the climate framework 2030. 3 The negotiation process to the European 2030 climate and energy framework In the weeks and months before the summit, the Ukraine crisis had been dominating the political agenda of the EU as well as those of previous summits of the European Council. This is best illustrated by the new Energy Security Strategy, which the Commission adopted in reaction to this crisis.6 This strategy discussed short-term and long-term options to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian gas imports, however, this issue was not explicitly named and discussed in the strategy. Instead, the strategy listed several concepts especially for the highly Russia-dependent eastern European countries to diversify the own gas imports. This strategic focus is important when considering questions of energy security as they’re framed in eastern European countries as being hardly compatible with (from the western European perspective) other progressive steps in climate politics.7 The explanation can be found in the respective energy structure of these countries, and in the fact that a greater independence from Russian imports is put on a level with a raise of the usage of own national fossil fuels. Therefore, one might regard the non-paper from the president of the European Council, Hermann van Rompuy, which was published in September 2014, as a first success from the ecologically progressive 5 Meyer-Ohlendorf, Nils: Can the European Council impose Consensus on EU Climate Policies?, Ecological Institute Discussion Paper, Berlin, 2015, p. 5. 6 See European Commission: European Energy Security Strategy, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, COM (2014) 330 final, Brussels, 2014, p. 4. 7 See Umbach, Frank: Deutschland, Polen und die gemeinsame Energiepolitik: Chancen der Kooperation in punkto Versorgungssicherheit, in: Jäger, Thomas & Dylla, Daria W. (eds.): Deutschland und Polen – Die europäische und internationale Politik, Wiesbaden, 2008, p. 273. 85 states in these negotiations, mainly because the non-paper still contained the target trias (emission reduction, development of renewable energy and energy savings). The proposed targets were a 40% emission reduction compared to 1990, a share of 27% of renewable energy in the European voltage system, and energy savings of 30%. This non-paper was the basis for the governments at the summit of October 2014. The decision to give the competencies to the staff of the president of the council (Sherpa process) can be regarded as another example of how governments can successfully shape European politics. Severin Fischer stated that this decision was supported by the German government for good reasons, as the Rompuy team was expected to be quite close to the own position.8 The alternative would have been negotiations by the appropriate ministers in the Council of Ministers, where it would have been much more difficult to find a compromise for ambitious climate targets. The key targets of the climate framework 2030 in the end were very close to the Non-Paper from Hermann van Rompuy. They encompassed: (a) At least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) (b) At least 27% share for renewable energy (c) At least 27% improvement in energy efficiency9 In the next chapter a closer look shall be taken at the content of the climate framework. The content underlines that the climate framework 2030 was, on the one hand, established through successful negotiation management from the ecologically progressive state actors, and on the other hand, also structurally linked to the system of the UNFCCC process. 8 See Fischer, Severin: Die Energiewende und Europa. Wiesbaden, 2017, p. 349. 9 Later this targets were raised in the case of Renewable Energy to 32% and the target for the improvement of energy efficiency was raised to 32,5%: See European Parliament: Neue ehrgeizige Ziele für Energieeffizienz und erneuerbare Energien, IPR-18315, 13 November 2018, available at: http://www. (24 January 2019). 86 4 The linkage to the UNFCCC process through the content of the climate framework It is advisable to take a closer look to the three key targets in the climate framework 2030. While the climate framework 2020 was designed with at least two essentially equally mandatory targets, the new formulated framework was not. The climate framework 2020 was characterized by the 20/20/20 targets. These included the nonnegotiable targets of 20% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and a share of 20% renewable energy on the European level with underlying national targets. The target in energy efficiency has to be excluded, as it was a non-binding indicative target of 20% improvement in energy efficiency. However, the climate framework 2030 only names one central binding target, specifically the emission reduction target. In an essay by David Buchan et al. it is explained that this target will be binding “because it can be enforced – on industry through the Europe-wide Emission Trading System that requires emissions to be matched with carbon allowances, and on non-ETS sectors such as transport, services and agriculture through national emission quotas.”10 Yet, the target of at least 27% of renewable energy is only mandatory on the European level and includes no supplementary national targets. Consequently, the target of 27% can be reached only through the development of renewable energy in those countries that already have ambitious domestic targets for their share of renewable energy and includes no incentives for an energy transition in the other countries. The policy design of the renewable energy target can be best explained by observing the German government’s negotiation strategy. For the German government, it was compulsory to have a renewable energy target per se determined in the framework; the level of ambition was only subsidiary. As the German government was under pressure to harmonize the national feed-in compensation for the renewable energies with European law, a European target for the development of renewable energy was needed as a legal basis. In fact, it was confirmed that the German renewable energy law was in line with the European law in July 2014, but on the basis of the 10 Buchan, David et al.: Energy and Climate Targets for 2030: Europe takes its Foot of the Pedal, Oxford Energy Comment, Oxford, 2014, p. 3. 87 environmental targets of the EU, which included the development of renewable energy.11 It was certain that an ongoing justification of the national renewable feed-in-tariff would only be possible if the EU set an ongoing renewable energy target. The participation of the German government in the European Council, while being simultaneously in negotiations with the Commission about the feed-in compensation, can therefore be understood as a Two-Level-Game. There were several reasons why the German government did not insist on a more ambitious renewable energy target. Countries like France and Britain preferred a technologically neutral target. As Germany needed the support of these countries for the formulation of an ambitious emission reduction target to counter the opposition of the Visegrád states, the German government needed to act unobtrusively. In consequence, a letter in support of a renewable energy target was send to the Commission in December 2013, however, without concrete numbers, so that the French government would also agree to sign the letter.12 Nonetheless, only eight countries signed this letter, which further showcases the difficult conditions for establishing a common renewable energy target. What’s more, many member states were at risk of missing their renewable energy target for 2020.13 This was not encouraging for these governments to formulate a new, even higher target for the development of renewable energy. In general, Severin Fischer and Oliver Geden also mention that many member states were undergoing new learning processes about how complex handling European directives in the field of renewable energy can be.14 This also 11 See European Commission: State aid: Commission approves German Renewable Energy Law EEG 2014, 23 July 2014, available at: rapid/press-release_IP-14-867_en.htm (16 February 2019). 12 See Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Call for a Renewable Energy Target in EU’s 2030, 23 December 2013, available at: atenBMU/DownloadPDF/Kli maschutz/europa_klimaschutzziel_bf.pdf (16 February 2019). 13 See Geden, Oliver & Fischer, Severin: Moving Targets – Die Verhandlungen über die Energie- und Klimapolitik-Ziele der EU nach 2020, SWP-Studie, No. S1, Berlin, 2014, p. 20. 14 See ibid, p. 14. 88 applies to implementation processes, which even result from indicative efficiency targets.15 The aforementioned concentration on the process of emission reduction also characterized the UNFCCC process, at least until the adoption of the Paris Agreement,16 and it is still the central question for many negotiation groups in this process. The chief negotiator of the German delegation, Karsten Sach, concluded in this context: “For the European Union in the climate negotiations everything is deduced from the question of emission reduction.”17 A closer look at the Kyoto Protocol or the Copenhagen Accords confirms the importance of the emission reduction target in the earlier UNFCCC process. It was only after the failure of Copenhagen that the states in the UNFCCC climate regime slowly started to strengthen the path of adaptation. At the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun in 2010, for the first time, a regulatory framework was negotiated to improve technological adaptation measures to counteract the consequences of pre-existing climate change.18 All targets in the European climate framework 2030 also contained the addition “at least”, which is another link to the UNFCCC process. The EU already tried this “supply strategy” at COP15 in Copenhagen on the basis of the climate framework 2020. In a joint decision by the European Parliament and the Council in 2009 it was written, that “[…] the European Council of March 2007 endorsed a Community objective of a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emis- 15 As also the efficiency target for the framework 2030 was formulated in an indicative and non-binding manner, it can also not be regarded as equivalent to the binding target of emission reduction. The efficiency target is understood as indicative, as the improvement by 27% is calculated in comparison to the predicted energy consumption of the EU in 2030 without further action. 16 This concentration is especially reflected through market-based mechanisms to reduce emissions in the Kyoto-Protocol. Apart from few financial promises to support the developing countries in their fight against the consequences of climate change, no adaptation targets are established in the Kyoto- Protocol. 17 Sach, Karsten: Personal Interview, January 2018. 18 See Morgenstern, Lutz: Der REDD-Mechanismus und die Verantwortlichkeit von Entwicklungsländern im internationalen Klimaschutz, Baden-Baden, 2012, p. 57. 89 sions by 2020 compared to 1990 as its contribution to a global and comprehensive agreement for the period after 2012, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and economically more advanced developing countries commit themselves to contributing adequately according to their responsibilities and capabilities […] the Community makes a firm independent commitment to achieve at least a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990.”19 With this strategy the EU tried to convince other industrial states to formulate adequate targets. In a more flexible way, as the climate framework 2030 was only a declaration of intent from the European Council during the Paris negotiations, the targets for 2030 can be read in the same way. The linkage to the climate negotiations was not written explicitly in the targets, but for instance the BMU (German Federal Ministry for the Environment) in regards to the climate framework pointed out that the EU was the first actor who handed in targets for the Paris negotiations and thereby underlined its own role as a frontrunner in this field. Furthermore, the BMU emphasized that this target also pressures other big pollutant states to hand in ambitious targets themselves.20 It was also clarified in the press release that the potential rise of the target through an international market mechanism should be negotiated in the context of a global climate agreement.21 19 European Parliament and Council: Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the Effort of Member States to reduce their Greenhouse Gas Emissions to meet the Community’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Commitments up to 2020, in: OJ (L) 140/136, 5 June 2009. 20 See Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety: Bewertung der 2030-Beschlüsse des Europäischen Rates aus Sicht des BMUB, 16 December 2014, available at: ma-energie/klimaschutz/eu-klimapolitik/bewertung-der-er-2030-beschluesse/ (11 February 2019). 21 See ibid. 90 5 The linkage to the UNFCCC process through the time schedule of the climate framework The European climate framework 2030 was announced very early by the European Council. The upcoming climate negotiations at COP21 in Paris (December 2015) were used as the main explanation. The EU needed a clear position for the diplomatic prenegotiations, which were already taking place at UNFCCC level during the entire year of 2015.22 This connection to the UNFCCC timeline is written in the introduction of the concluding document of the European Council from the 24th of October 2014: “On the basis of the principles identified in the March 2014 European Council conclusions, the European Council agreed today on the 2030 climate and energy policy framework for the EU. Accordingly, the EU will submit its contribution, at the latest by the first quarter of 2015, in line with the timeline agreed by the UNFCCC in Warsaw for the conclusion of a global climate agreement. The European Council calls on all countries to come forward with ambitious targets and policies well in advance of the Conference of the Parties 21 in Paris.”23 The COP21 in Paris was a window of opportunity to put climate politics back on the European agenda. The announcement of the climate framework 2030 from all European state representatives was not guaranteed as the EU was still dealing with the consequences of the transatlantic economic crisis and of course with the Ukraine crisis and its implications for the European (energy) security, which was of particular interest especially for several eastern European member states (specifically questions of gas imports through pipelines that pass through Ukraine and the general dependency of gas and oil imports from Russia). For these reasons, the EU had many difficulties in finding consensus in any decision in 22 See Representative of the German Government: Personal Interview, May 2016. 23 European Council: 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework, Conclusions 23/24 October 2014, EUCO-169, Brussels, 2014, available at: http://data.con, p. 1 (24 February 2019). 91 the field of energy policy at previous summits of the European Council in 2014 and 2013.24 6 The linkage to the UNFCCC process through the governance system of the climate framework The climate framework 2030 means a shift from top-down governance to a mainly bottom-up approach. The targets of the climate framework 2030 are underlined through a new governance system which shall ensure “that suitable implementation measures are adopted by the Member States and coordinated at EU level, while ‘fully respecting’ the Member States’ ’freedom to determine their energy mix’”25. To achieve both targets, the commission proposed a three-steps approach. First of all, the commission developed guidance plans for the member states and determined which criteria the national plans will have to fulfil. After this, the member states can formulate their own national plans and are expected to participate in bilateral exchanges to make cross-border-effects possible. Last but not least, the Commission determines if the plans are consistent with the European climate framework 2030.26 The dominant role of the national states in the implementation of the climate framework 2030 is in general standing contrarily to a top-down-structure. This can also be proven by a closer analysis of the targets. Solely the emission reduction target and the possibility to enforce this target through the Europe-wide emission trading system can be regarded as a largely top-down mechanism. Nevertheless, a closer look at the emission trading system reveals exceptions from the top-down distribution of the certificates. The vetoplayer Poland for example, only agreed to the system because of the concession that from 2021 on, 12% of the certificates will be distributed to countries which have an economic national output below the European average. Additionally, the middle- and eastern Euro- 24 See Geden, Oliver & Fischer, Severin: EU-Gipfel: Konsensformeln verdecken Richtungsstreit in der Energie- und Klimapolitik, SWP-Kurz gesagt, March 2014. 25 Bonn, Moritz et al.: EU Climate and Energy Policy 2030 – Comments on an Evolving Framework, CepInput, No. 2, Freiburg, 2015, p. 12. 26 See ibid. 92 pean states will receive 40% of the certificates in the voltage system still zero-priced.27 Regarding the renewable energy target, the shift to the bottom-up governance is becoming even clearer. For the renewable energy target no national target, no sector-specific targets will be set. Instead, Member States are asked to prepare their self-defined renewable energy targets and their plans on how to implement these measures.28 The target in the end will only be binding at the European level. Also the UNFCCC process was shifting from a top-down to a bottom-up system since the failure of the COP in Copenhagen 2009. The COP15 in Copenhagen in political history is known as the COP where the state representatives attempted to approve a binding climate treaty or protocol that included all states. Due to the different interpretation of climate debt and climate justice between the developing and industrialized countries, this undertaking failed.29 After this failure, the process was dominated even more then before by the state representatives which seemed to be a logical consequence from the raising importance of climate questions in the internal affairs of all states.30 Bilateral agreements like the one between the USA and China in November 2014 are getting more important. Especially their symbolic meaning for the fragmented negotiation groups in the UNFCCC process is growing. The founding of new multilateral forums like the MEF (Major Economies Forum), which is a discussion forum of the 16 most important global economies is a further proof.31 Admittedly, the MEF was not founded as an alternative model to the UNFCCC-process. 27 See Fischer, Severin: Der neue EU-Rahmen für die Energie- und Klimapolitik bis 2030, SWP-Aktuell, No. 73, Berlin, 2014, p. 5. 28 European Council: 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework, Conclusions 23/24 October 2014, EUCO-169, Brussels, 2014, available at: http://data.con, p. 6 (12 February 2019). 29 See for example Bentz-Hölzl, Janine: Der Weltklimavertrag – Verantwortung der internationalen Gemeinschaft im Kampf gegen den Klimawandel, Wiesbaden, 2014. 30 See Broughton, Emma et al.: Die EU in einer fragmentierten Klimapolitik, Baden-Baden, 2011, p. 51. 31 See ibid. 93 Nevertheless, it was the difficulty of unanimity in the UNFCCC process that made an additional, more decentral discussion forum necessary. These processes culminated in the Paris Agreement, which is a structural renunciation from a top-down oriented climate treaty. Instead, the structure of the Paris Agreement is similar to the European framework 2030 based on nationally determined contributions which are submitted to the climate secretary and reviewed and revised every five years in a global stocktake.32 7 Conclusion The Energy Policy in Europe and the UN climate regime show a rising interdependence. The European climate framework 2030 shows linkages to the UNFCCC process in its content, the time schedule, and also in the governance system. This interdependence between the UNFCCC process and the European climate politics was arranged through intergovernmental level-gaming from those member states, which wanted to keep the frontrunner role in the climate negotiations. The decisive negotiations at COP21 in Paris meant a window-of-opportunity for the announcement of the European climate framework 2030. As the article pointed out, the new governance systems on UNFCCC level and on the European level are strengthening the role of national governments and of intergovernmental negotiations. The European Council will therefore gain an even more powerful role in the upcoming decisions in energy and climate policy. Especially since the European Council established in the climate framework 2030 that all policy decisions concerning the climate targets of the EU are, in principle, regarded as strategic decisions and therefore can only be decided by the European council in unanimity. “The European Council will keep all the elements of the framework under review and will continue to give strategic orientations as appropriate, notably with respect to consensus on ETS, non-ETS, inter- 32 See UNFCCC: Adoption of the Paris Agreement (12 December 2015), Article 12. 94 com-nections and energy efficiency.”33 Also, the emergence of the emission reduction target as the central target in the climate framework 2030 took on a greater meaning for the role of the national governments, as it strengthens the authority of the national governments to decide about the national energy mix without further limitations. The strong role of intergovernmental governance in European energy and climate politics will result in new challenges for the decision-making processes in the EU. If the EU wants to fulfil its own Low-Carbon-Roadmap by 2050 and wants to keep an essential role in the international climate negotiations, the voting system for climate politics in the European Council that requires unanimity, and where one government can be the ultimate veto-player, has to be questioned in favour of qualified majority voting systems. In the case of a bilateral exchange between governments, the climate framework 2030 can play a positive role through the new governance system. The two tendential opponents in climate politics, Germany and Poland, should use this governance system to find a new consensus in climate politics, perhaps in case troubles arise, also on the basis of concessions in other political fields. Insufficiently coordinated projects like North Stream II which undermine the trust between the European partner states are not helpful. 33 European Council: 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework, Conclusions 23/24 October 2014, EUCO-169, Brussels, 2014, available at: http://data.con, p. 1 (24 February 2019).

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After two decades of rather moderate interest in European energy issues, the awareness for this policy area began to grow again in the early 21st century. This is due to several changes in the energy market. Firstly, the great powers increasingly compete for access to energy resources. Secondly, the second biggest exporter of energy resources, Russia, started to develop its energy diplomacy by trying to transform resource wealth into political power. After several gas crises in Ukraine, the effectiveness of Russia’s “energy weapon” became only too clear. Finally, the impact of climate change on energy policy became a current topic in international politics, since the energy sector is the largest producer of greenhouse gases. The European Union as organization and international player has significantly gained importance in the field of energy policy. At first, it concentrated on creating a single market for energy goods and services, but subsequently became an important player on the international energy market: building institutions, promoting norms and transforming into a “realist” actor interested in improving its own energy security. Today, the EU’s climate policy strongly affects its energy policy, driving a transformation from fossil fuels to renewables. The goal of this volume is to contribute to the ongoing discussion on energy in international relations by covering different aspects of energy policy in Europe. The analysis focuses on the national perspectives of three EU members – Germany, France and Poland – as well as on the perspective of the EU. Mit Beiträgen von Hubertus Bardt, Florian Engels, Wolfram Hilz, Timo Karl, Shushanik Minasyan, Maciej Ras, Rafał Ulatowski