On May 31, Jürgen was invited to the Washington State Legislature in Olympia to present EU climate and clean energy policy at a seminar for staff at the Washington States Senate Committee. In his presentation, Jürgen highlighted climate policy as an example of EU policy that has progressed relatively quickly to a comprehensive set of legislation in the past 10-15 years. About 25 staff members working for different Senate committees attended the seminar. They appreciated much the opportunity to learn how laws are prepared, negotiated and adopted in the institutions of the European Union.
The invitation to speak in Olympia followed after earlier interviews that Jürgen had conducted with staff and representatives at the Legislature as part of his research during his stay as EU Fellow at Center for West European Studies and the EU Center.
In the past few years in Washington there has been a lively political debate on carbon pricing driven by the governor’s office and many local NGOs. The state legislature discussed new bills on carbon tax and on the promoting renewable energy sources in early 2018. Because of limited time (the 2018 session ended already in March) and differences in view among legislators the bills initiatives were not adopted.
Partly as a reaction to this setback, a new ballot initiative for a carbon fee is being launched by an alliance of environmental, social justice and trade unions for vote in Washington in November 2018. The initiative is very similar to the carbon tax bill that failed in the legislature.
After the seminar Jürgen enjoyed a picnic lunch and a walk on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. He also had time to take a guided tour of the impressive Legislative Building in Olympia. The building was completed in the 1920s. It is 287 feet tall and is the fifth tallest masonry dome in the world, and the tallest in North America.
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.