Senin, Maret 22, 2010


EUROPE ASSIGNMENT, December 22nd 2009
Gracia Paramitha, 070710415

Since Cold War has ended, environmental issues have grown up and became strong third agenda of international politics, especially low political issues. The Earth Summit was firstly held in Stockholm (1972), Europe has led to struggle and empower safe environment. Indeed, European countries have been seemed as the pioneer of environmental or green perspective that has been developed vastly through other continents. European environmental politics have become more crucial agenda item since the climate system and biodiversity has changed unpredictably and rapidly. Obviously, European starts to make some effort for combating the global warming, by assuming environmental problems and human security. European Union also takes significant role to reduce the ice melting, reducing emissions, eco-friendly technologies, and any other beneficial charge of saving the environment. There is no wonder if the climate change and global warming are the main issue of environmental obstacles that has been resolved by all parts of global people, without regarding the ‘sovereignty’ or the ‘legitimacy’ of each state. This essay will elaborate and explain more details about the emergence of European environment politics, how it’s implemented in some European countries, the role of EU for solving environmental problems, and the challenging of Europe towards global environmental politics.

History of European Environmental Politics
There is no doubt that Europe has led to be a global player in global environmental politics. Historically speaking, environmental problems has been concerned and included into Europe policy since revolution has occurred in some spaces. Industrial revolution was the real fact that energy has been consumed greedily without seeing the common interest, even just eager to obtain resource power and exploit more natural products. In addition, there is no common environmental policy that ever instituted or formal treaty recognition. In 1987, there is a Single European Act, policy making process that has been under way for European Community Action Plans 7. Those policies tried to ensure a high level of environmental protection that became one of the fastest growing areas of European Community legislation.
Environmental Politics in Action
Green Politics has been fundamental action through environmentalism since Germany has established German Green Party (GGP) in 1980. As the most attractive party in that moment, GGP (which symbol is drawn as sunflower in its flag) contains of 4 essential principle, such as: Ecological wisdom, Social justice, Grassroots democracy, Nonviolence. (John Willey : 1995)
The next amazing event is the first Earth Summit which had been held in Stockholm in 1972. This conference has been mainly supported by UN which entitled Human Environment. It’s frequently seen as seminal moment in this process, and was directly related with the beginnings of European Community on environmental action and the creation of environment ministries in large number of participating states. In the following, there’s also Convention that constituted Long Range Transboundary Air (LRTAP) in 1979. The follow up of Earth Summit in 1972 has been preceded continuously into Rio de Janeiro Conference in Human and Development, in 1992. Meanwhile, there still progressive meeting which called Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Within European context, most of environmental agenda are only theoretical statement and merely beyond the substance. Thus, commitment for European Parliaments is not too strong; sometimes only a little information has been identified. Although there is no clear explanation, Europe environmental politics is still better than any other countries.
There are several countries that have acted the implementation of its policy. Most of Northern Europe countries apply comprehensive environmental politics, within a national program that has long-term goals and several targets. Finland built National Commission on Sustainable Development since 1993 which consist of government and non government from top to grass roots. While Britain (UK) formed Sustainable Development Commission in 2000, which attempts to implement and monitor sustainable development in government level. There is also the Dutch National Environmental Policy Plans (NEPP) which born in 1989 and have comprehensive planning. Germany top up its green politics by building “Environmental Barometer” program which categorize some indicators and targets for the quality of air, soil, natural, energy, water, and any other resources.

European Union: Regional Comprehensive Organization towards Environmentalism?
One main reason that Europe contribute important role in environmental issues is European biggest action on exploiting nature. In 2003, the EU 25 members were responsible for some18.6% of world oil consumption, second only to the US figure of 25%. (COP 15, Copenhagen. 2009, from Accessed directly in Copenhagen, December 7th-18th 2009)The second reason is an integrated approach of the environmental foreign policy (common foreign and security policy). It means that EU, as a regional organization, intends to reconstruct common and comprehensive European foreign policy on environmental issues (EU as the key player/actor towards global environmental governance). Third reason is the national interest in exploring the alternative strategy. And the last reason is “pay-back mechanism” towards developing countries, in providing forest, 02, and trade area.
The ecological and economic presence of the European Union has provided the basis for extensive influence in the politics of the global environment. In EU procedure, it contains of more than 300 rules of environmental consensus which 2/3 of its contribution come from Netherland and Germany. For example, the market based instrument which tells about EC0-taxes. However, in such ways, EU may be regarded as a disseminator of norms and as body that incorporates others in its policies for sustainability. It’s the commission’s view that in long term period, the enlargement may in fact be the biggest single contribution to global sustainable development that the EU can make, allowing new members to leapfrog traditional stages of development and upgrade environmental protection, social development and economic growth by adopting some 300 legislative acts constituting the Union’s ‘environmental acquis.’

EU Challenges: Global Environmental Politics and Climate Change Outcome
The new challenge that has been faced by EU is about climate change program/talks, which held by UN on United Nations Framework on Climate Change Conference. Since EU has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, there is some commitments that should be done by EU, especially about reducing emissions target and responsibility of green sustainable implementation to developing countries programs. The Conference of Parties 15 (COP 15) has been held in Copenhagen, Denmark which exist that Europe still hope the best deal for combating climate change. Nevertheless, EU sometimes pretends to side more developed countries and in doubt of deciding the maximum target of emission reduction. Even though EU often said its flexibility, it didn’t seem that EU commits to encourage and bridge the big gap between US and developing-least developed countries.
According to the statement above, I presumably conclude that EU doesn’t play the whole important role (again) in global environmental politics. There are interesting views (perspective) from small island countries, African Groups, even China (as a new industrialized country) to be counter -hegemony of developed country. The big task or duty that should be done very rapidly is EU’s new reformation on facilitating the contradictive interest of both countries. Despite of its differences, EU might be able to enhance its influence and integration to fulfill the continuous outcome of Kyoto Protocol (whether it’s legal binding treaty or just political guidance).

McCormick, John. The Global Environmental Movement (London: John Wiley, 1995).
Vogler, John. 2005. The European Contribution to Global Environmental Governance. pp 835-850

COP 15, Copenhagen. 2009, from Accessed directly in Copenhagen, December 7th-18th 2009
Romans,Larry et al. 2009. European Environmental Politics and Policy, from Accessed on December 22nd 2009

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