Between the 19 and 21 of March, Jürgen was visiting the San Francisco Bay Area and the University of California, Berkeley, where he was once a graduate student. He was there to interview researchers and experts on climate and renewable energy policy in California. The state of California has been leading climate action in the United States for over a decade and has the country’s largest cap-and-trade (emission trading) system. The governor, Jerry Brown, has also been very active in promoting international action. Together with governors Jay Inslee (WA) and Andrew Cuomo (NY), he launched the U.S. Climate Alliance a group of 16 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. The members of the Climate Alliance have pledged to continue implement measures in line with the Paris Agreement despite the fact the U.S. government has announced its intention to withdraw from it.
Governor Brown will be hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 12-14. The Summit will focus on the efforts and achievements of states, regions, cities, and companies from around the world to keep up the momentum on international action after the Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016.
At the last day of his visit Jürgen gave a public talk at the Center for Environmental Public Policy within the Goldman School of Public Policy, which was much appreciated. He started his lecture by giving a historic background to EU climate policy and then explained the main laws and regulations that the EU has adopted to reach its climate objectives and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in 2020 and 2030. The EU intends to a reduce its emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990, which also is its contribution to the Paris Agreement. He ended his talk by highlighting the EU’s strong engagement in international climate negotiations and its support for climate action in developing countries.
The audience consisted mostly of researchers and graduate students, many of which were international students. They asked many questions and contributed to an engaging discussion, which continued with some of the participants after the event had finished. Jürgen answered questions on the EU’s role in international climate negotiations, its emission trading system and on European relations with the USA and China.
While in Berkeley, Jürgen also met with another EU Fellow and colleague from the European Commission, Lukas Repa, who was visiting UC Berkeley in 2017-2018 to study the latest developments and trends in financial technology. The meeting was a good opportunity to update each other on their research and share their experiences as EU Fellows at different American universities.
We are coming up on the end of Jürgen’s time here at the Center for West European Studies! He’ll be heading back to Brussels to continue his work as a policy officer at the EU Commission in July.