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The European Union’s climate change mitigation action: an ongoing transition?

Tolis, Valeria 2020. The European Union’s climate change mitigation action: an ongoing transition? PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This project develops a Lacanian framework for analysing the EU’s climate change mitigation policymaking in a period that corresponds to the finalisation of the 2030 Clean energy package and the launch of the 2050 long-term decarbonization strategy. It empirically follows the work of the EU at its Brussels headquarters and at the level of the UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties between 2017 and 2018 and methodologically contributes to the poststructuralist strands of Global Environmental Politics in International Relations. This project aims to reflect on the nature of the EU’s current climate action and on the possibility of “change” in relation to scientifically informed climate warnings and recommendations on departing from the business as usual logic. The investigation is guided by the case studies of energy efficiency and renewables, and circular economy given their policy-relevance and given that these are considered desirable policy tools by the EU. It builds on Jacques Lacan’s theory of discourse which allows us to emphasise signification and its effects on the speaking subjects. This makes it possible to open a seemingly closed discourse and expose its inherent fractures through the speaking subjects by empirically exploring how energy efficiency, renewables and circular economy are spoken. It is demonstrated that energy efficiency, renewables and circular economy cannot be thought as a presupposition of sense that automatically delivers the desired and required emissions reductions. I argue that to understand the current EU’s climate action and any possibility of change, attention must be paid to the way in which any produced fractures are handled in signification by the subjects, as these can be either positively integrated into signification or can disrupt it and cause a change of paradigm. I conclude that except for a few potentially disruptive elements that leave room for a true rupture and possible change, the current EU’s climate mitigation action appears more as a fictitious change than as a real transition.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
Uncontrolled Keywords: IR, EU, mitigation, 2030 Clean energy Package, 2050 long term strategy, energy efficiency, renewables, circular economy, discourse studies, Jacques Lacan
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 December 2020
Date of Acceptance: November 2020
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 02:20

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